Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties
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Research Handbook on the Law of Treaties

  • Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Christian J. Tams, Antonios Tzanakopoulos and Andreas Zimmermann

Offering a unique conceptual approach to the Law of Treaties this insightful Research Handbook not only sets out the foundational issues, but identifies tensions within the field, including formalism vs flexibility, integrity vs flexibility, and uniformity vs specialisation, to name a few. It seeks to define and re-define the dimensions in which Treaty law operates, tracing its fault-lines and the challenges it faces, such as breaches, regime-collisions, state succession and armed conflict. Representing a broad range of jurisdictional and ideological perspectives, the Research Handbook provides a diverse and stimulating approach to international treaties.
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Chapter 19: Treaties and international organizations: Uneasy analogies

Philippa Webb

Extract

The expansion of activities that States undertake in a collective manner has led to the increasing use and creation of international organizations (IOs). These IOs, in turn, have become parties to a rising number of treaties. The United Nations (UN) is a party to 1500 treaties listed in the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) database. The European Union (EU) is a party to over 2000 agreements. Classic treaties involve relationships between entities, such as host State agreements between States and IOs and cooperation agreements between IOs. An emerging trend is for IOs to become parties to substantive law-making treaties on, for example, the law of the sea and human rights. The IO may be a party to a treaty in addition to its member States or it may extend the effects of the treaty to its member States. It may be a party to a ‘mixed agreement’ that covers a field that partly belongs to the competence of the organization and partly to that of its member States. The law of treaties as applied to IOs gives rise to uneasy analogies with the law applicable in an inter-State context. The current legal framework does not seem to have kept pace with the dynamic participation of IOs in all aspects of international life. There is a tension between treating IOs in the same way as States and accommodating their specific characteristics.

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