Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann
Chapter 2: The law of treaties through the interplay of its different sources
It is commonly accepted that the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is one of the most ambitious, and perhaps also among the most successful, endeavours to codify international law ever attempted. It has conceptualized a system of the law of treaties that remains relevant to date. Many of its provisions are routinely mentioned in judicial and diplomatic practice as unequivocally corresponding to customary law. The Vienna Convention has also spread its influence over other branches of international law and has contributed to the general development of international law. Its blend of tradition and innovation now constitutes a model for codification. At closer look, however, the application of the Vienna Convention also reveals some problematic issues and lays bare the fragile paradigm of codification. Although frequently mentioned in judicial and diplomatic practice as the living codification of the law of treaties, the Vienna Convention has certainly not prevented the further development of this area of law. The interplay between the Vienna Convention and other sources of international law is rather bidirectional. The Convention has certainly exerted a robust influence on international practice. However, evolution in the law of treaties and other areas of international law has also had a major impact on the Vienna Convention and has led to the further development of some of its normative solutions.
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