The Decline of 'Drafts'

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Once, not too long ago, the word ‘draft’ was an important, if taken-for-granted, term in the practice of the International Law Commission (‘Commission’). Employed by both the Commission and the United Nations General Assembly, the word acted as a marker, distinguishing the texts produced by the Commission, which were assigned that term, from those instruments based on the Commission’s work that were subsequently adopted by states through treaty negotiations. Today, the use of the word ‘draft’ is in decline: the Commission is producing more and more products that are no longer labeled with that term; and even when the Commission still attaches that description to its completed work, the Assembly, after receiving the Commission’s completed ‘drafts’, is dropping the word when it subsequently refers to those texts in its resolutions.


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