The Duck of Minerva

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Worst. Treaty. Name. Ever.

May 20, 2010

I’m trying to finish up a paper on the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). But that of course it not the treaty’s full name. No – instead it is:

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects

Has there ever been a treaty with a worse or more awkward name? Apparently there was some issue as to the name during negotiations on weapons in the 1970s. A Canadian Delegate, William J. Fenwick, suggested an alternate name/acronym: “Causes Unnecessary Suffering [or] Has Indiscriminate Effects” or CUSHIE. Another (American) delegate to the CCW talks notes that “His somewhat facetious recommendation did not meet with success.”

The ICTR Statute has probably one of the longest names I’ve ever seen:

Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994

Long – but it doesn’t seem to quite get to the opacity of the full CCW name. If nothing else, the ICTR name is pretty specific.

Can readers suggest a treaty with a worse name? I’m not sure I can give prizes – but I’ll give you glory… via Twitter…. Amongst my 28 followers…

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Stephanie Carvin is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Her research interests are in the area of international law, security, terrorism and technology. Currently, she is teaching in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, technology and warfare and foreign policy.

Stephanie holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and published her thesis as Prisoners of America’s Wars: From the Early Republic to Guantanamo (Columbia/Hurst, 2010). Her most recent book is Science, Law, Liberalism and the American Way of Warfare: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict” (Cambridge, 2015) co-authored with Michael J. Williams. In 2009 Carvin was a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University Law School and worked as a consultant to the US Department of Defense Law of War Working Group. From 2012-2015, she was an analyst with the Government of Canada focusing on national security issues.
Stacie Goddard