Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl
Chapter 11: International Organizations and Treaties: Contractual Freedom and Institutional Constraint
Catherine Brölmann INTRODUCTION – ORGANIZATIONS AND TREATIES In a classic international setting, the conclusion of treaties is the pre-eminent tool for maintaining legal relations, and a sure sign of independent actorship. International organizations have long entered the select group of international treaty-makers, and they are now party to a large number of treaties. Organizations are also associated with treaty law and practice in other ways: notably in their role as facilitators for the conclusion of multilateral treaties by states, sometimes in such a prominent position that one could forget that technically they are not themselves a contracting party. This chapter first considers some aspects of the organizing theme in this book: the distinction between the ‘functionalist’ and the ‘constitutionalist’ view of international organizations. Subsequent sections then address the principal topic: the conclusion of treaties by international organizations. This includes international organizations’ treaty-making practice, the applicable law of treaties, and specific questions that may arise in relation to international organizations, as opposed to states: which treaties allow for international organizations to become a party; and to which treaties is a given organization allowed to become a party? The latter question usually entails an appraisal of the ‘powers’ of an organization, which in turn is linked to an interpretation of the organization’s constituent treaty – this is briefly discussed in the same section. The following section then addresses the role of organizations as forum for treaty processes of states. In a general sense, this forum role is part of ‘lawmaking’ by organizations, a...
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