The Law of Treaties
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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.
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Chapter VIII: Implementation

Robert Kolb


Treaties are concluded in order to be implemented. Application concerns the actual carrying out of the obligations and the correlative enjoying of rights enshrined in the agreement. Each party executes its commitments for itself. It must interpret the treaty so as to know what is required from it. If there are divergences on the question of implementation, a dispute may arise. It has to be settled according to the mechanisms of the ‘peaceful settlement of disputes’ under international law. There are six main points which deserve to be mentioned here. We will move from the more general to the more specific. There are some treaties which apply exclusively, or to a very large extent, at inter-State level. For example, this is the case of the VCLT of 1969. It regulates the conclusion, managing, functioning and termination of treaties on the international plane, that is, in relations among States. As a consequence, an individual cannot invoke the VCLT to his benefit in an internal forum. For example, he could not claim the inapplicability of some treaty on account of fundamental change of circumstances. This plea is open only to the State party as regards other States parties. The first must decide whether it wants to suspend or terminate the treaty under the change of circumstances rule. While it has not advanced any claim, the treaty remains in force.

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