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 IX: Conflict

Robert Kolb

Extract

The issue of conflicts between treaty norms or between treaty norms and customary norms is a complicated matter. Not all solutions are legally firmly established. Practice is scattered. The accommodations found in practice were not infrequently based on some form of transaction or compromise, that is, on the conclusion of a new agreement. It is difficult to draw general rules from such particularistic precedents. A good example of the tribulations which may ensue is the Danube Convention of 1921 and its partial amendment in 1948 by Eastern European States to which Western European States did not consent. The question was caught up in the minefield of the Cold War. Another difficulty is to determine when a normative conflict exists. The simplest case is one of contradictory normative injunctions. Two norms are applicable to the same State and to the same set of facts; one norm requires the State to do something while the other norm prohibits that very course, or one norm requires that State to abstain while the other norm requires it to act; there is here a normative conflict. The conflict can be partial, that is, concern only a part of the norm. Thus, a bilateral treaty providing that the use of force between the two contracting States is prohibited with the exception of humanitarian police operations would conflict with article 2, § 4 of the UN Charter only with respect to the latter part of the norm.

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