International Treaty

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Treaty, International


an agreement between two or more states or other competent parties of international law, establishing their respective rights and obligations in political, economic, or other relations.

International treaties constitute the major source of inter-national law. International treaties may be bilateral or multilateral, depending on the number of parties to the treaty. Multilateral treaties may be open, meaning that other parties may accede to them on the procedures stipulated in the treaty itself, or they may be closed, meaning that nonsignatory states may accede to it only with the consent of the parties to the treaty. Reservation to an international treaty, stated in a special protocol, may be made at the time the treaty is signed, ratified, or when a state accedes to a previously signed international treaty.

An international treaty is as a rule in the form of a written document and consists of a preamble, stating the motives and goals of the treaty; the specific provisions on the nature of the relation the treaty is to regulate; and concluding articles on the treaty’s duration and mode of prolongation, notice of denunciation^ conditions of its coming into force, and its ratification. A treaty may have an appendix that specifies its main provisions and that has the same juridical force as the text of the international treaty itself. Bilateral international treaties are usually drawn up in the languages of the principal contracting parties; multilateral in one, two, or more languages. The USSR strictly observes the principle of linguistic equality of contracting parties: all international treaties concluded by the USSR are drawn up in Russian and in the language of the other contracting party.

An international treaty concluded by contracting states is as a rule subject to ratification or confirmation. Usually the head of state confirms an international treaty after it has been officially signed. The signing of a treaty is sometimes preceded by what is called initialing: the plenipotentiaries affix their signature to every page of the treaty to confirm that the present version is the agreed-upon text.

An international treaty enters into force after it has been signed if it is so directly stated in the treaty, or after an exchange of ratification, or after the ratifications are deposited with some other state, called the depository, or with the UN. A treaty may stipulate the exact date when it becomes effective; the contracting parties have the right to select any time for the international treaty to become effective. According to the Constitution of the USSR of 1936 the ratification of international treaties is the prerogative of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Treaties subject to ratification are discussed and confirmed by the government before they are ratified; in some cases they are submitted for approval, prior to such discussion and confirmation, to the foreign affairs commissions of the Council of the Union and the Council of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

International treaties are as a rule published by the parties that have concluded them in official government publications, in the periodical press, in collections, or in other types of publications. According to the legislation of several countries, published (promulgated) international treaties have the force of law. In the USSR ratified treaties are published in Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (Bulletin of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Members of the UN register the treaties they have concluded with the UN Secretariat and the registered international treaties are published in UN collections.

Depending on the agreement of the parties to the treaty, international treaties may either be interpreted by the parties themselves or disputes of interpretation may be submitted to an arbitration commission or to the International Court of Justice of the UN.

An international treaty may terminate upon the expiration of its terms, or because the obligations stipulated in it have been fulfilled, or by mutual consent of the parties to terminate the treaty ahead of time. A treaty may also be terminated through denunciation. In that case one state informs the other state or the depository, under conditions agreed upon by the parties in advance, that the treaty between them has been voided. Other ways of terminating an international treaty are revision of the treaty with the consent of the parties to the treaty and annulment, meaning the unilateral declaration of one state that it renounces the treaty.

A variety of designations are applied to international treaties, such as treaty, agreement, pact, accord, convention, declaration, communique, protocol, and act. While the contracting parties have the right to choose any designation for a treaty they conclude, in practice the name of the treaty depends on its content. For instance, a communique usually provides information on the general principles of the government’s policies and views on a particular specific issue, and a protocol deals with the settlement of a minor issue within the framework of cooperation of the states concerned.


Kurs mezhdunarodnogo prava, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968. Pages 130-224.


References in periodicals archive ?
It would never allow an international treaty banning guns to affect us here at home, as well.
The concept of international treaty in the Foreign Relations Act also embraces agreements between the Member States.
The main objectives of the international treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.
The Bishop of Coventry Colin Bennetts has welcomed foreign secretary Jack Staw's pledge to support calls for an international treaty control the arms trade.
In May 2004, the United States became the 108th country to sign the WHO's international treaty on tobacco control, which outlines a plan of action for issues ranging from tobacco advertising to cigarette smuggling.
is unpopular because of its withdrawal from the Kyoto Accords, an international treaty designed to improve the quality of the world's--.
Mexico took Washington to the International Court of Justice at The Hague last month, saying more than 50 of its nationals on death row should get retrials because US authorities breached an international treaty by failing to tell them of their rights to consular help after their arrests.
It is undecided whether the new regulation will be an independent international treaty or a document attached to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, they said.
ITEM: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reported the Voice of America News for July 31st, "has approved an international treaty intended to promote equality for women around the world.
This international treaty, to which more than 140 countries are parties, prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition or retention of biological and toxin weapons.
China is lobbying countries around the world to support its joint proposal with Russia to draft an international treaty banning weapons in space, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Tuesday.
More than 100 nations are set to sign an international treaty that will require plant breeders developing new crop varieties to donate funds for agricultural improvement, conservation, development and training in poor countries, according to a United Nations official.

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