Full text: Responsibility of states for damage caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners

to those rules and regulations, it could not expect to be considered as a mem- 
ber of the Family of Nations; and that any State that should commit a 
breach of this obligation in respect of foreign subjects within its territorial 
bounds would be held responsible and accountable for redress. Couched in 
these terms, the Geneva Preparatory Committee of the Codification Con- 
ference has propounded the question of the legal foundation of State respon- 
sibility in the Bases of Discussion submitted to the various governments. 
The Government of Germany replied that it held the view of the binding 
force of International Law, and that the general importance of this problem 
surpasses that of mere responsibility and extends beyond its scope. The 
Danish Government deems that it is not essential to base the responsibility 
of States on a purely formal conception. Both the latter and the Swiss 
governments do not deem it proper to advance international common assent 
as the reason for responsibility. The Danish Government further avers that 
it would be difficult to conceive that just because a State does not recognize 
its responsibility under international law, it should thereby be deprived of 
its rights to be considered as a member of the Family of Nations. The 
Swiss Government maintains that it would be a source of confusion to 
establish too close an occasional relationship between international common 
assent and responsibility. 
[t is practically impossible to eliminate altogether purely formal con- 
ceptions in this issue. The essential principles of responsibility can not very 
well be severed from their foundation upon the binding force of the law of 
Nations, inasmuch as responsibility itself “constitutes merely one feature of 
the general principles of the law.” The settlement of all special cases of 
responsibility involves the idea of adherence to juridical precedents. The 
general doctrines implicitly embody the sense of practical solutions. How- 
ever, whenever the ancient notion of absolute sovereignty is invoked, respon- 
sibility is thereby avoided. The Roumanian Government has advanced this 
doctrine in its reply to the Preparatory Committee of the Codification Con- 
ference. When the doctrine of self-limitation is invoked, responsibility finds 
its basis upon principles strictly subject to established conventions. How- 
ever, if the responsibility of States is founded upon the broader doctrine of 
common right, new fields are thereby laid open for its application. This 
suggests the advisability of establishing some presumption of law, which 
should insinuate or justify the handling of matters incident to membership 
in the Family of Nations. There is a series of issues more or less related 
to the solution of the fundamental juridical problems, to wit: the rights of 
aliens; supremacy of municipal or international law, etc. The sanction of 
jurisdiction, especially in legal matters, depends to a certain extent upon the 
view adopted for the foundation of responsibility as a feature of the general 
theory of the law.

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