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For important treaties and conventions, this section helps you finding statements made by tribunals regarding a specific article of a treaty or convention.

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Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties

The States Parties to the present Convention  

Considering the fundamental role of treaties in the history of international relations,  

Recognizing the ever-increasing importance of treaties as a source of international law and as a means of developing peaceful co-operation among nations, whatever their constitutional and social systems,  

Noting that the principles of free consent and of good faith and the pacta sunt servanda rule are universally recognized,  

Affirming that disputes concerning treaties, like other international disputes, should be settled by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law,   

Recalling the determination of the peoples of the United Nations to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties can be maintained,  

Having in mind the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, such as the principles of the equal rights and self-determination of peoples, of the sovereign equality and independence of all States, of non-interference in the domestic affairs of States, of the prohibition of the threat or use of force and of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,  

Believing that the codification and progressive development of the law of treaties achieved in the present Convention will promote the purposes of the United Nations set forth in the Charter, namely, the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations and the achievement of co-operation among nations,  

Affirming that the rules of customary international law will continue to govern questions not regulated by the provisions of the present Convention,  

Have agreed as follows: 

Article 14
Consent to be bound by a treaty expressed by ratification, acceptance or approval  

1. The consent of a State to be bound by a treaty is expressed by ratification when:    

(a) the treaty provides for such consent to be expressed by means of ratification; 
(b) it is otherwise established that the negotiating States were agreed that ratification should be required; 
(c) the representative of the State has signed the treaty subject to ratification; or 
(d) the intention of the State to sign the treaty subject to ratification appears from the full powers of its representative or was expressed during the negotiation.  

2. The consent of a State to be bound by a treaty is expressed by acceptance or approval under conditions similar to those which apply to ratification.


Article 27
Internal law and observance of treaties  

A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty. This rule is without prejudice to article 46.

Article 28
Non-retroactivity of treaties  

Unless a different intention appears from the treaty or is otherwise established, its provisions do not bind a party in relation to any act or fact which took place or any situation which ceased to exist before the date of the entry into force of the treaty with respect to that party.

Article 31
General rule of interpretation  

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 for the purpose of the interpretation of a treaty shall comprise, in addition to the text, including its preamble and annexes:   

(a) any agreement relating to the treaty which was made between all the parties in connexion with the conclusion of the treaty; 
(b) any instrument which was made by one or more parties in connexion with the conclusion of 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:   

(a) any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or the application of its provisions; 
(b) any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which establishes the agreement of the parties regarding its interpretation; 
(c) any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties.  

4. A special meaning shall be given to a term if it is established that the parties so intended.

Article 32
Supplementary means of interpretation  

Recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of Article 31, or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to Article 31:   

(a) leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure; or 
(b) leads to a result which is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.

Article 33
Interpretation of treaties authenticated in two or more languages  

1. When a treaty has been authenticated in two or more languages, the text is equally authoritative in each language, unless the treaty provides or the parties agree that, in case of divergence, a particular text shall prevail.  

2. A version of the treaty in a language other than one of those in which the text was authenticated shall be considered an authentic text only if the treaty so provides or the parties so agree.  

3. The terms of the treaty are presumed to have the same meaning in each authentic text.  

4. Except where a particular text prevails in accordance with paragraph 1, when a comparison of the authentic texts discloses a difference of meaning which the application of articles 31 and 32 does not remove, the meaning which best reconciles the texts, having regard to the object and purpose of the treaty, shall be adopted.

Article 34
General rule regarding third States  

A treaty does not create either obligations or rights for a third State without its consent.

Article 39
General rule regarding the amendment of treaties  

A treaty may be amended by agreement between the parties. The rules laid down in Part II apply to such an agreement except in so far as the treaty may otherwise provide.

Article 59
Termination or suspension of the operation of a treaty implied by conclusion of a later treaty  

1. A treaty shall be considered as terminated if all the parties to it conclude a later treaty relating to the same subject-matter and:   

(a) it appears from the later treaty or is otherwise established that the parties intended that the matter should be governed by that treaty; or 
(b) the provisions of the later treaty are so far incompatible with those of the earlier one that the two treaties are not capable of being applied at the same time.  

2. The earlier treaty shall be considered as only suspended in operation if it appears from the later treaty or is otherwise established that such was the intention of the parties.

Article 65
Procedure to be followed with respect to invalidity, termination, withdrawal from or suspension of the operation of a treaty  

1. A party which, under the provisions of the present Convention, invokes either a defect in its consent to be bound by a treaty or a ground for impeaching the validity of a treaty, terminating it, withdrawing from it or suspending its operation, must notify the other parties of its claim. The notification shall indicate the measure proposed to be taken with respect to the treaty and the reasons therefor.

2. If, after the expiry of a period which, except in cases of special urgency, shall not be less than three months after the receipt of the notification, no party has raised any objection, the party making the notification may carry out in the manner provided in article 67 the measure which it has proposed.

3. If, however, objection has been raised by any other party, the parties shall seek a solution through the means indicated in article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.  

4. Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall affect the rights or obligations of the parties under any provisions in force binding the parties with regard to the settlement of disputes.  

5. Without prejudice to article 45, the fact that a State has not previously made the notification prescribed in paragraph 1 shall not prevent it from making such notification in answer to another party claiming performance of the treaty or alleging its violation.