Treaty is defined under Article 2 (1)(a) of the Vienna Convention on the Laws of Treaties, 1969 as an ‘international agreement concluded between States in written form, governed by international law, whether it’s contained in a single instrument or two or more related instruments. The ability (and consent) of the parties to reach an agreement and put it into effect determines the treaty’s legality. Treaties are, in essence, legal instruments enacting the greatest compact between states.
Depending on the subject matter and the number of parties involved, the process of concluding a treaty may differ (bilateral treaties, multilateral treaties). Every state has the ability to sign treaties. States act through their representatives when negotiating international treaties. State representatives must produce full powers, which is a document issued by a State’s competent authority designating a person or persons to represent the State in negotiating, adopting, or authenticating a treaty’s text, expressing the State’s consent to be bound by a treaty, or performing any other act related to a treaty. The procedure on the conclusion of treaty are:
a) Accrediting of persons by the contracting parties:
- Appointments of member.
- Appointment of the representatives, having necessary authority provided formal instruments.
- Not finalized, open for negotiation to adopt.
b) Negotiation and adopt: Negotiation is done by the head of state, who has given the responsibility to negotiate. Adoption is done with the consent of all the member nations/participating state of the international conference by the vote of 2/3 voting of the sates present.
c) Signature: Signature of the members, makes the treaty authentic and definitive. Treaty will come into force or conclusion when signature is done if it does not have ratification clause. But if there is a ratification clause present in the treaty then between the time period of signature and ratification, that time is given to the municipal government to decide whether they want to ratify or not. To make a treaty as an authentic and definite source, then all the members must agree with the same.
Article 2 (1)(b) Vienna convention on international treaty denies it as an act of confirmation by the nations who have signed it. Ratification makes the member state bound by the treaty.
e) Accession or adhesion:
This comes in picture, in the situation when the state has not signed the treaty. Specially in multilateral treaty, if the treaty contains the provisions of accession/adhesion.
f) Entry into force:
Article 24 of the Vienna convention, treaty comes into force in accordance with the provisions of the treaty. Signature need to be done, apart from signature, ratification is required to be done, after ratification if provided in provisions.
g) Registration and publication:
Registration need to be done with the security general of the United Nation after it had came into force, Article 102 of the UN charter.
It is important to notes that a status of non-registered treaty is valid, but parties cannot invoke it before any organ of the UN. Treaties, which are now the most objective means of expressing states’ consent, must be written in line with international law’s principles and regulations, to which they are all legally obliged. Treaties have undoubtedly become a way of reducing international unpredictability, consecrating the conciliation of interests, stabilizing the balance of power, and providing reassurance in an ever-changing and fluid world.