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INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 1 PART 1: SOURCES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW jus co ge erga ns omnes obligations Treaty Local Customary Int'l Law
Modified by Opinio Juris & State Practice amongst Parties
Unilateral Declarations (Normal) Customary International Law General Principles of Law Scholarly Articles
Sources are important given that there is no legal international body ensuring enforcement.
Further, there is no court that has international jurisdiction over all states. The ICJ only has the
jurisdiction that states give it and the ICC has prosecutorial jurisdiction, but can only do so when
states fail to prosecute of or there are no other legal mechanisms to prosecute.
Source 1: Statute of the International Court of Justice, Article 38
Disputes submitted to the ICJ shall apply within the context of customary law (general
state practice), international conventions (established rules expressly recognized by
consenting states), general principles of law (come from states by 'civilized nations'),
judicial decisions and teachings of publicists Source 2: Treaties
Most important source of law: also referred to as agreements, accords, covenants, joint
communiqués, pacts, etc.
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT); even nonsignatories are bound
by its provisions because it's considered CIL; treaty making covered by Articles 717)
States that do not sign them are not bound by their provisions (Article 34, VCLT) +
North Sea Continental Shelf Case
No prescribed format for treaties
o Eastern Greenland Case: oral exchanges can constitute binding intl obligations
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 2 Qatar v Bahrain Maritime Delimitation Case: minutes of meetings can be
used to denote set of obligations
o AngloIranian Oil Case: Agreement between state and nonstate actor cannot
create a treaty unless it's an international organization.
Treaties with Indigenous peoples are still to be recognized but they are not treated like
other treaties Can be bilateral or multilateral
8 step process: accreditation, negotiation, adoption of text, authentication, ratification,
accession, EIF, registration
Article 2: treaty is an international agreement concluded between states in written form and
governed by IL Article 2(1)(d) (reservations): a unilateral statement made by a state where it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the treat in their application to that state.
Article 6: every state has the capacity to conclude treaties, except for nonstate actors
TREATY MAKING PROCESS (715) Article 7 (full powers): Representative of the state has the powers to negotiate and adopt text of
a treaty, authenticate the text of the treaty and express the consent of the state to be bound. State
must produce full powers in order to do so (have documentation showing that person has
authority to represent state)
7(2): people with full powers include heads of state, heads of government, ministers of foreign
affairs, heads of diplomatic missions have limited powers, delegates to international conferences
are presumed to have power to negotiate and adopt treaty on behalf of state
state cannot invalidate agreement made by someone with full powers
in Canada, s. 132 of CA 1867 grants Parliament and the Government the power to
perform obligations of treaties for Canada (no constitutional mandate requiring
government to pass treaties with Parliament, but they must keep in mind the division of
the Foreign Minister has legal capacity to oversee treaty making process, but many
departments and staff are involved in the negotiation process
full powers in Canada are conferred to the order of the Governor in Council Article 8: when acts must be confirmed by the state Finalizing Treaty Text (910) Article 9(1) (adoption of text): states must unanimously agree to adopt text (bilateral) Article 9(2): if negotiated at international conference, adoption takes place by 2/3 vote of states
(unless 2/3 agree to adoption by different majority)
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 3 Article 10 (authentication of text): (a) text established as authentic and definitive by procedure
as may be agreed between negotiating states. (b) If there is no agreement, the default is by
signature (and variants).
Signature authenticates the treaty as negotiated (it is not consent to be bound) Expression of Consent to be Bound (1115) Article 11 (expression of consent): expression of consent can be done by signature, exchange of
instruments, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession or any other means agreed.
Article 12: consent to be bound expressed by signature where the state so provides or the
negotiating states agree that it is sufficient
Treaties can be open for signature after authenticated Article 14(1) (ratification): consent to be bound is expressed by ratification when: a) the treaty so provides b) established by the states so agreed c) a treaty is signed subject to ratification d) intention to sign the treaty subject to ratification appears in the full powers
Ratification allows for the domestic constitutional steps to be fulfilled
States that don't originally sign a treaty cannot ratify it but may later sign it to
become a party
14(2): conditions for consent to be bound expressed by acceptance or approval are similar to
those for ratification.
Article 15 (accession): consent of a state to be bound by a treaty is expressed by accession when: treaty so provides, states so agree, or all parties have subsequently agreed. North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (FRG v Denmark; FRG v Netherlands) 1969 F: FRG had signed but not ratified 1958 Geneva Convention on Continental Shelf Ratio: It is not lightly presumed that a state which has not carried out the formalities of a
treaty is somehow bound by another way.
Article 18: obligation not to defeat object and purpose in effect of treat (argued that signature
imposes moral obligation to seek ratification approval).
Article 24 (EIF): EIF as agreed by parties but not agreed as soon as all negotiating states have
expressed consent to be bound (some treaties require X number of ratifications before EIF) Article 25: treaty may provide that it applies before entry into force
Ex. Landmines Convention (ICBL) Article 39 + 41 (AMENDMENTS): process to amend treaties
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 4
Article 46: competence under domestic law to conclude treaty Article 50 - corruption of state official Article 51: coercion of state official Article 80 (Registration and Publication): Final stage after EIF, treaties are transmitted to
Secretariat of the UN for registration and publication.
*Corollary Article 102 of UN Charter: treaties must be registered with UN Secretariat. If
not, they cannot be invoked before any UN organ TREATY RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS: RESERVATIONS
derogation form terms of treaties
some treaties prohibit reservations (Ottawa Land Mines Treat)
some place limitations on what can be reserved to (International Convention on
Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination) Advisory Opinion (AO) Reservations to Genocide Convention Case 1951 (*Over 40
reservations) Is Reserving state a party if reservation objected to by 1 or more but not all parties?
YES = reserving state a party as long as reservation is not contrary to object and purpose
of the treaty If YES, what is effect of reservation between reserving state and 1) objecting states and b)
accepting, nonobjecting states?
Objecting state may treat reserving state as nonparty
Nonobjecting state treats reserving state as party VCLT Article 19 (General rule): Reservations are permissible if not prohibited by the treaty or
incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty.
Article 20 (Permissible Reservations)
1) if reservation is expressly authorized there is no need for acceptance unless the treaty
provides 2) if limited number of parties and object and purpose suggest whole treaty must apply to all parties, reservation requires consent of all parties 3) if treaty is constituent instrument of international organization, reservation requires
consent of competent organ 4) if treaty allows reservations even where objections exist a. acceptance of reservation > reserving state = party through accepting party b. objection to reservation > reserving state = party vis a vis accepting party unless
objecting state expressly states otherwise
5) if no objection to R after 12 mo of notification or by date of sig/rat = tacit acceptance
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 5 Article 21 (Legal Effect of Permissible Reservations) Modifies
1a) obligations of reserving state re other states to extent of reservation 1b) Provisions to which reservation relates to same extent for other party re reserving party 2) reservation has no effect on obligations between other parties 3) if state objects to reservation then provisions affected by reservation do not apply between
objecting and reserving states
Article 53: a treaty is void if at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a preemptory norm of
general international law (which is accepted and recognized by the international community of
states as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted).
We are unsure as to which rules are jus cogens rules (should look to draft articles of state
Human Rights Treaties are distinguished from others. These include obligations that are owed to
all states (erga omnes). All states have a legal interest in their protection (Barcelona Traction
Case). The Human Rights Committee of the UN interprets reservations narrowly. They have
rejected the classical rules and will sever reservation if it is incompatible with the object and
purpose of the treaty.
Bellios v Switzerland
Ratio: Court held that reservation by Swiss was not valid because it was too broad.
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 6 LEGAL EFECT OF TREATIES
*Treaty is expression of CIL; not treaty/provision that binds third states but CIL Article 26 (pacta sunt servana): treaty in force is binding upon the parties and must be
performed in good faith (CIL)
Article 27: a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as a justification for its
failure to perform a treaty.
Advisory Opinion (Treatment of Polish Nationals) 1932 Ratio: state cannot adduce the constitution of another to evade obligations incumbent upon it by
international law Article 34: A treaty does not bind third parties without their consent, nor does it create
obligations or rights for third parties.
France v Switzerland 1932 (34 codified ruling here)
treaties with CIL in them may be binding on third states though (according to VC on
Diplomatic Relations 1961) Article 35: obligation arises by a third state if it expressly accepts that obligation in writing Article 36: a right granted to a third state may be made if third state accepts right in writing. There are exceptions for:
o Treaties aimed at establishing regime o Treaties codifying customary international law o Treaties subsequently become CIL INTERPRETATION, INVALIDITY AND TERMINATION OF TREATIES VCLT Article 31 (STARTING POINT): (1) 'A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in
accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.' (2) The context … shall comprise, in addition to the text, including its preamble and annexes: (a) any agreement relating to the treaty … made between all the parties in connection with the
conclusion of the treaty (b) any instrument which was made by one or more parties in conclusion of the the treaty and
accepted by the other parties as an instrument related to the treaty 3) 'There shall be taken into account, together with the context:
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUMMARY - 7 (a) any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or
application of its provisions (b) any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which established the agreement of the parties regarding its interpretation (c) any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties Article 32 (CONTINUATION): recourse to other means of interpretation like supplementary
materials can be used if a treaty is ambiguous (travaux preporatoires) Article 33: text of a treaty is equal in all languages in which it is drafted Greece v Turkey 1978 (Aegean Sea Continental Shelf) (INTERTEMPORAL DOCTRINE):
Sometimes the ordinary meaning of a word or phrase in a treaty will prevail, despite its age.
INTERTEMPORAL RULE: Most treaties continue to speak within their lifetime. Treaty law is
to be judged not by reference to current law but to legal circumstances prevailing at the time of
Termination of Treaties Article 42: if we want to know about the invalidity of treaties, we look to the VC but if we're
looking at termination, we look at the treaty and the VC Suspension (42): obligations are suspended until the treaty is resumed Article 43: invalidity, termination or denunciation of a treaty does not impair duty to fulfill
obligations Article 45: state cannot claim invalidity if it has expressly agreed that the treaty is valid or
remains in force or continues in operation, or if it is been considered to be acquiesced in the
validity of the treaty Article 46: state cannot use domestic law to leave treaty obligations unless it is of manifest
importance (Ex. violation of constitution) Article 47: failure to observe restrictions does not validate consent unless other states have
noticed restrictions failure to observe limits on authority
Article 48: error of fact (state thought that a certain issue was X while consenting, but it was
otherwise - must be something essential to consent that validates the error). If consent is invalid,
treaty is voidable (cannot wait too long to claim invalidity)
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