A Historical Overview of the Basic Concepts of the Cape Town Convention (Part I): ‘International Interest’ and ‘Internationality’

  • Anton Didenko


The Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (‘Cape Town Convention’ or ‘CTC’) is on the verge of another expansion of its scope by virtue of a new protocol on mining, agricultural and construction equipment (‘MAC Protocol’). The MAC Protocol raises important questions concerning the philosophy of the Cape Town Convention system. Is there a limit to CTC expansion? Has the principle of internationality been eliminated from the text of the CTC? Where do the ‘gateway’ provisions of Article 51 (‘Future Protocols’) come from? Why were some assets matching these criteria (eg ships) previously excluded? This paper is the first in a series of articles examining the history of development of the core concepts underlying the Cape Town Convention and focuses on two issues: ‘international interest’ and ‘internationality’. It tracks the development of each concept from the early days of the CTC and argues that the ‘international interest’ has its roots in the gradual evolution of the idea of recognition of domestic security interests, and posits that despite the eventual elimination of the principle of ‘internationality’ from the text of the CTC, its echo has nonetheless remained an important part of the Cape Town Convention due to the state sensitivities that became apparent during the final stages of development of the treaty. These issues form the basis of the philosophy of the Convention, and must be considered prior to the adoption of any new protocol.