Treaty – Definition, what it is and concept

A treaty is an agreement between two or more countries, according to which they assume a series of obligations. Thus, treaties signed between states are within the framework of International Law.

Both countries and international organizations have the capacity to sign international treaties. Depending on who signs the treaty, different international regulations will apply:

  • For treaties between countries: Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
  • For treaties between organizations Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties concluded between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations.

Main features

Although the treaties international cover very different areas, there are a number of common characteristics in all of them. These include the

  • In general, they must be collected in writing, although a verbal agreement between states or also among international organizations is considered valid.
  • The rights and obligations of the treaties will be specified in the clauses of the treaty.
  • The terms of the treaty have validity and application from the time it enters into force until it is considered finalized.
  • They receive very different names such as conventions, protocols, pacts, letters, statutes or agreements.
  • They are sources of law, so treaties are part of the system of laws.

Types of treaties

According to different aspects, we can classify the different types of treaties.

Depending on the area they cover

Depending on the area they intend to regulate, we find very different treaties. Thus, commercial treaties that regulate the International Trade, peace treaties that put an end to war, extradition treaties that favour judicial cooperation and treaties that address the human rights approach among many others.

According to obligations

  • Treaties-law: They are above national law and impose compliance with a series of regulations.
  • Treaties-contract: They generate obligations between the signatory countries.

According to its extension in the

  • Duration determined: The period of time during which they will be valid is specified.
  • Indeterminate Duration: They are considered to be in force indefinitely.

According to the degree of

  • Open: It is allowed to be part of them despite not having participated in its creation.
  • Closed: You cannot become part of the treaty if you did not participate in its origin. Therefore, if a new country arrives, it would be giving rise to a new treaty.

Number of participants

  • Bilateral: It is an agreement between two countries or international organizations.
  • Multilaterals: More than two countries or international organizations participate in them.

By the way it is

  • Solemn form: They require the prior approval of the parliament and the state headquarters.
  • Simplified form: They do not require ratification, they just have to be accepted through your signature.

Stages in the process of a treaty

It will all begin with the negotiation phase, in which the states, through their foreign affairs ministers, will discuss the terms of the agreement. Historical experience in treaty negotiation has shown that this is the longest part of the elaboration of a treaty. Thus, the negotiation of a treaty can last for years.

After the negotiation, It will reach a voting stage in which it is decided whether or not to adopt the treaty.
If we are before a bilateral treaty, the agreement between the two will be necessary countries, while, if we find a multilateral treaty, it will be it is essential that the text is supported by at least two-thirds of the participating states.

The next stage will be the authentication, being the head of state who signs the treaty. By last, consent to the treaty will have to be given, so if we are facing a Solemnly treated, it will be essential that it be ratified by the parliament.