Juridical Tribune Volume 8, Special Issue, October 2018 49
for Nuclear Damage5 under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(thereinafter “the IAEA”) in order to address the risks arising from peaceful uses of
nuclear energy.6 Its goal was to establish a nuclear liability framework applicable
worldwide.7 The Vienna Convention was opened for signature for the States
represented at the International Conference and it had to enter into force three months
after the date of deposit of the fifth instrument of ratification to the Director General
of the IAEA.8 Consequently, it entered into force on 12 November 1977, after being
ratified by Argentina, Cuba, Egypt, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and
Philippines.9 In the following decades, a number of other (both nuclear10 and non-
nuclear) States either ratified (Chile, Lebanon), or acceded (Bolivia, Brazil,
Cameroon, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Saint
Vincent and Grenadines, Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay).11
While the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (together with the
Belarussian Soviet Socialistic Republic) participated at the International Conference
on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, it strictly opposed the principles provided by
the newly established liability regime (in particular the principle of channelling of
liability to the operator, rather to the State). Consequently, neither of the States of
the former Eastern bloc (with the salient exception of the above-mentioned
Yugoslavia12) acceded to this convention until the early 1990s. They did so only after
5 29 April – 19 May 1963.
6 K. Wolff, The Vienna Internationa l Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage , [in] Nuclear
liability, progress in nuclea r energy, ed. James Weinstein, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1966, pp. 1-22.
7 In 1960, the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (thereinafter “the
Paris Convention”) was adopted under the auspices of the European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA)
to establish a regional liability framework in the Western Europe. Consequently, it was later ratified
by Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands,
Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and th e United Kingdom. In entered into force in 1 968.
Further, in 1962, the Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships was adopted und er
the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in order to tackle the liability issues
arising from the operation of nuclear propelled maritime vessels. However, this Convention has never
been ratified by the required number of the States and consequently, did never entered into force.
8 Vienna Convention, Article XXIII.
9 At that time, only Argentina was operating a nuclear installation in its territory. However, both Egypt,
Cuba, Philippines and Yugoslavia had some nuclear ambitions, which were successful on ly in the
10 I.e. States operating nuclear installations covered by the liability regime as established by the Vienna
Convention in their territories.
11 While participating at the International Conference on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the State
of Israel has never ratified the Vienna Convention and remains to be out of the nuclear liability
framework established. Also, Spain and the United Kingdom did originally participate in the
International Conference. However, they did ratify the Paris Convention afterwards. Due to the fact,
a parallel participation in bo th the Vienna and Paris Conventions has been regarded as impossible,
they have never ratified the Vienna Convention. See M. Lagorce, Étude comparative des conventions
O.C.D.E. et A.I.E.A. sur la responsabilité civile dans le domaine de l´ énergie, “Aspects de droit de
l´ enérgie atomique”, 1/1965, pp. 93-102.
12 The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had signed and ratified the Vienna Convention on 21
May 1963 and 12 August 1977, respectively. Bosna and Hercegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia
and the Republic of Macedonia succeeded to be Contracting Parties to the Convention. Slovenia did
originally also succeed, but had afterwards terminated the Vienna Convention and acceded to the