The Law of Treaties

The Law of Treaties

An Introduction

Robert Kolb

Permeating all facets of public international law, the modern law of treaties is a fundamental aspect of governance in the ‘democratized’ world. In this contemporary introduction, Robert Kolb provides a refreshing study that is both legally analytical and practical. Written in a highly readable style, the book explores the key topics through concise chapters, which are organized into two parts. The first of these gives a structured overview of the law of treaties along with practical examples. The second provides a critical engagement with the underlying issues and discusses the multi-dimensional problems raised by legal regulations, explored through specific case studies.

Chapter XI: Termination

Robert Kolb

Subjects: law - academic, public international law, politics and public policy, international relations


The ‘termination’ of treaties includes the extinction of the treaty as a whole, the suspension of a treaty as a whole or between some parties, and also the withdrawal of one or more than one State party from a treaty. The extinction leads to the objective termination of the treaty; withdrawal leads to the restriction of the personal scope of application of a treaty (but in some cases also to extinction, as for example, in the case of bilateral treaties). The common core of these different situations is that the rights and obligations enshrined in the treaty are no longer applicable, either in whole and definitively, or for a certain defined or undefined time-span, or for some parties and not for others. This is obviously without prejudice to the duty to continue to apply any obligation embodied in the treaty to which the States are subjected under international law independently of the treaty. It is then not the provision of the treaty which has to be applied, since that provision is defunct; rather, the duty bears on the corresponding obligation under the other source of international law. In most cases, this other source will be customary international law; but it could also be another treaty or a unilateral promise. When there is no further specification, the term ‘termination’ will in the following discussion encompass only the extinction of the treaty. Suspension and withdrawal will be termed as such.

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