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 X: Modification

Robert Kolb

Extract

No human compact is meant to last for eternity. Things evolve and change; thus laws and treaties have to be adapted. The greatest problem with the amendment of treaties is that as consensual acts they bind all the parties; and so as consensual acts they can be modified with erga omnes partes effect only by all the parties. This gives each party a sort of right of veto with regard to amendment, at least for the effects of amendment on that party. Its rights under the older treaty remain acquired and cannot be altered against its will so long as the treaty remains in force. If the parties agreeing on a new legal régime conclude the amending agreement notwithstanding that some other States parties disagree, the result will be a split of rights and obligations. Certain States will remain bound by the old treaty; some other States will become bound by the new treaty. If the revision process is carried out more than once, the complexity and number of treaty relations can become considerable. This is the reason why in some treaties, notably of an institutional nature, special rules on amendment have been explicitly adopted. This is the case, for example, in articles 108 and 109 of the UN Charter. We will return to this issue later in this chapter. Note that before World War II, there was an understanding that an amendment needed the agreement of all the parties to the treaty.

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