Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann
Chapter 12: Uniformity versus specialization (1): The quest for a uniform law of inter-State treaties
The recent proliferation of international courts and tribunals, accompanied by the expansion of areas regulated by international law with ever increasing density, has led to an equally increasing fear of fragmentation both at an institutional and at a normative level. The present chapter examines whether the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) rules or their customary law equivalents provide the actors in the international arena with a uniform set of rules, or whether practice has demonstrated that they are only a ‘springboard’ allowing the States flexibility to adopt more tailor-made solutions. In order to avoid any overlaps with other contributions in the present handbook, the analysis will focus on three main areas of the law of treaties: i) the provisions relating to the creation of conventional obligations, that is, what is a treaty, ii) the issues relating to consent to be bound, and iii) the provisions relating to amendment of treaties. These areas refer, on the one hand, to the emergence of a binding treaty and, on the other, to its continued, albeit somewhat transformed, existence. In this manner a complete overview of the genesis and life of a treaty can be given and certain conclusions can be reached as to the existence or not of a characteristic of uniformity of the relevant provisions amongst inter-State treaties.
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