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the approval by a country’s supreme governing body of an international treaty concluded by its representative. As a rule, only the most important international treaties are subject to ratification. However, ratification is essential if it is stipulated in the treaty, if the parties’ intention to ratify the treaty clearly stems from the circumstances of its conclusion, or if the representative of the respective state signed the treaty “subject to ratification” or such a condition is directly stated in the credentials defining the representative’s powers.
The constitutions of most states assign the right of ratification of international treaties to the head of state (either with or without the sanction of the supreme legislative body) or directly to the supreme legislative body. For instance, the Constitution of the USSR grants the right of ratification to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR or directly to the Supreme Soviet. The USSR law on the procedure for ratifying or denouncing international treaties, adopted Aug. 20, 1938, establishes the types of treaties concluded by the USSR that are subject to ratification. They include peace treaties, treaties on mutual defense against aggression, treaties on mutual nonaggression, and treaties during the conclusion of which the parties agree to subsequent ratification.
Ratification is recorded by each state in an instrument of ratification, which states that the treaty has been examined by the ratifying body, carries the text of the treaty itself, and declares that the treaty will be complied with by the given state. The required signatures are given, and a seal is affixed. When concluding bilateral international treaties, the parties exchange instruments of ratification; when a multilateral treaty is ratified, the contracting states deliver the instruments of ratification to another state designated as the depository.