Reflections on State Responsibility for Violations of Explicit Protectorate, Mandate, and Trusteeship Obligations

There is a rich body of law dealing with breach of treaty, its consequences and the procedural options it gives to the complying party. But violations of treaty obligations by a protecting state are procedurally different from violations between states in legal and political parity and negotiating at arm’s length. The protected state or state under protectorate has, by definition, a restricted if not completely suspended competence to operate at the international level and hence is unable to protect its interests against violations by the erstwhile protector. Thus, it should be no surprise that international decision has suspended the operation of laches for failure to prosecute violations of interest, when the party that failed to protect its own rights was in a subordinate position and was unable to operate in its own name at the international level. In contrast, the claims we will consider are based upon violation of explicit international obligations under the law that prevailed at the time of their inception and operation.