Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann
Chapter 14: Regime-collisions: Tensions between treaties (and how to solve them)
Resolving conflicts between treaties was once a rather straightforward topic of public international law. In the last two decades, however, as treaties became regimes and as conflicts or collisions turned into tensions, the topic has taken on a multidimensional character. The changes in terminology are therefore not merely an attempt to reclothe a well-studied topic. Instead, each term (treaties or regimes, conflicts and collisions, or tensions) reflects a different perspective that addresses a different set of problems. The main purpose of this chapter is to outline and categorize these problems as well as to sketch out possible solutions. Usually, the starting point for every analysis of regime or treaty collision is to define and clarify the term collision or conflict. This chapter will depart from this traditional approach, not because it is incorrect but because it would imply that there is only one true meaning of conflict in this context. Indeed ‘validity’ can be found in all of the current definitions of regime – or treaty collision in the sense that they point to different problems and perspectives, and are as such the result of specific developments in public international law. These different problems and perspectives are captured by the terms compliance, coherence, and constitutionalism that will serve as the analytical framework of this chapter.
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