In 2007, Russia suspended a number of its obligations under the CFE Treaty. After a series of negotiations to persuade Russia to revert to compliance, to no avail, the USA and certain other States Parties to the CFE Treaty equally suspended a number of their treaty obligations in 2011. The CFE Treaty itself has a provision neither on suspensions nor on reactions to suspensions or violations. In contrast, general international law offers two possible reactions to treaty violations: suspension as a response to a material breach of a multilateral treaty under the law of treaties; countermeasure as a response to any violation under the law of State responsibility. Against this theoretical backdrop, the reaction by the NATO allies to the Russian suspension of the CFE Treaty is examined. The theoretical framework is beneficial in illustrating the contrasting consequences: the negative restoration of balance as a consequence of a treaty suspension, and the positive restoration of the treaty relationship as the intended consequence of a countermeasure. The article purports to show the benefit of grasping the present case as a countermeasure. It also argues that the chosen reaction by the NATO allies is an exemplary countermeasure, in that they have selected bilateralisable obligations that only affect their relationship with Russia; it leaves the treaty relationship among the rest of the States Parties to the CFE Treaty intact. The article then discusses the limitation of the chosen theoretical framework, namely, the artificial differentiation between a countermeasure and a treaty suspension.
Journal Article. 9343 words.
Subjects: Public International Law
Full text: subscription required