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Contracting Parties  >   United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea > France 

 
Date
SignatureDecember 10, 1982
RatificationApril 11, 1996
Entry into forceMay 11, 1996

Declarations, Reservations etc.

Objections made on April 28, 2015:
With regard to the interpretative declaration made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
"The Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations presents its compliments to the United Nations Secretariat (Office of Legal Affairs, Treaty Section), and has the honour to refer to the depositary notification (C.N.221.2014.TREATIES-XXI.6) of 15 April 2014, relating to the interpretative declaration made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed in Montego Bay on 10 December 1982.
The Government of the French Republic has examined the interpretative declaration made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 15 April 2014, which contains the following statement: "The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reserves the right to interpret any and all articles of the Convention in the context of and with due regard to the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its territorial integrity as it applies to land, space and sea. Details of these interpretations will be placed on record in the instruments of ratification of the Convention. The present signature is without prejudice to the position taken by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo or to be taken by it on the Convention in the future."
The French Government notes that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been a party to the Convention since 17 February 1989. In accordance with article 310 of the Convention and customary international law as codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, of 23 May 1969, a State may make a declaration "when signing, ratifying or acceding to this Convention".
The interpretative declaration of the Democratic Republic of the Congo dated 15 April 2014 is therefore untimely. The acceptance of such a practice would represent a risk in terms of legal certainty.
In the interpretative declaration, moreover, the Democratic Republic of the Congo "reserves the right to interpret any and all articles of the Convention in the context of and with due regard to [its] sovereignty […] and its territorial integrity as it applies to land, space and sea".
The French Government notes that the interpretative declaration has the legal effect of limiting the scope of certain provisions of the Convention. The interpretative declaration must therefore be examined as a reservation.
Although article 310 authorizes the issuance of declarations and statements by States, its provisions require that "such declarations or statements do not purport to exclude or to modify the legal effect of the provisions of the Convention in their application". However, those very characteristics seem to apply to the Democratic Republic of the Congo's declaration, whose wide-ranging nature would appear to give it particularly unpredictable effects.
The Government of the French Republic therefore objects the above-mentioned interpretative declaration made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This objection does not preclude the entry into force of the Convention between France and the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

Declaration made upon ratification:
"1. France recalls that, as a Member State of the European Community, it has transferred competence to the Community in certain areas covered under the Convention. A detailed statement of the nature and scope of the areas of competence transferred to te European Community will be made in due course in accordance with the provisions of Annex IX of the Convention.
2. France rejects declarations or reservations that are contrary to the provisions of the Convention. France also rejects unilateral measures or measures resulting from an agreement between States which would have effects contrary to the provisions of the Convention.
3. With reference to the provisions of article 298, paragraph 1, France does not accept any of the procedures provided for in Part XV, section 2, with respect to the following disputes:
Disputes concerning the interpretation or application of articles 15, 74 and 83 relating to sea boundary delimitation, or those involving historic bays or titles;
Disputes concerning military activities, including military activities by government vessels and aircraft engaged in non-commercial service, and disputes concerning law enforcement activities in regard to the exercise of sovereign rights or jurisdiction excluded from the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal under article 297, paragraph 2 or 3;
Disputes in respect of which the Security Council of the United Nations is exercising the functions assigned to it by the Charter of the United Nations, unless the Security Council decides to remove the matter from its agenda or calls upon the parties to settle it by the means provided for in this Convention."

Declaration made upon signature:
"1. The provisions of the Convention relating to the status of the different maritime spaces and to the legal regime of the uses and protection of the marine environment confirm and consolidate the general rules of the law of the sea and thus entitle the French Republic not to recognize as enforceable against it any foreign laws or regulations that are not in conformity with those general rules.
2. The provisions of the Convention relating to the area of the sea-bed and ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction show considerable deficiencies and flaws with respect to the exploration and exploitation of the said area which will require rectification through the adoption by the Preparatory Commission of draft rules, regulations and procedures to ensure the establishment and effective functioning of the International Sea-Bed Authority.
To this end, all efforts must be made within the Preparatory Commission to reach general agreement on any matter of sub- stance, in accordance with the procedure set out in rule 37 of the rules of procedure of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.
3. With reference to article 140, the signing of the Convention by France shall not be interpreted as implying any change in its position in respect of resolution 1514 (XV).
4. The provisions of article 230, paragraph 2, of the Convention shall not preclude interim or preventive measures against the parties responsible for the operation of foreign vessels, such as immobilization of the vessel. They shall also not preclude the imposition of penalties other than monetary penalties for any willful and serious act which causes pollution."