International Law: Treaties as a Tool of Diplomacy

From time immemorial, the conclusion of treaties relates to the most ancient principal source of Public International Law. Their items prescribe ties between separate states or continents. One of the outstanding historical examples is the Westphalia truce, which in fact laid the foundation for a new diplomacy.

A lot of experts point out that nowadays we can observe an expansion of the range of issues falling under the force of pacts. These include ecology, space, the defense of human and animal rights, water space, etc. So, we are talking about unique political weapons.

Types of Treaties

A convention usually means any written document that involves information on the links between actors in the transnational arena. Of course, from year to year, other definitions are offered, but an essence remains the same. An oral word or gesture is not taken seriously in the present society. Lawyers distinguish two types of pacts:

  • Lawmaking treaties introduce innovations in multinational legislation like the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • Contractual treaties guarantee the obtaining of consent for a certain transaction, for instance, an import of goods or services.

Another example of the first category is the Antarctic Treaty, drawn up by 12 countries. It emphasizes the role of the continent as a neutral territory for research. None of the nations may claim their right to this land. It is this pact that underlies the future allocation of resources.

Some contractual thesis can become a foundation for custom, provided that it is of a general character and has a wide legal scale. Any covenant hopes for the conscientiousness of the parties. The conception of pacta sunt servanda, perhaps, is the oldest principle of transnational relations. Enforce the contract may only be through force or economic restrictions, which adversely affects the atmosphere as a whole.

Specialists never came to the universal formula of contracting. This means that they may be composed between persons or agencies on their own principles. Their dominant component serves the demonstration of mutual consent between the partners about the content by putting signatures, exchanging papers, and ratifying them.

to the last procedure, jurists recognize an official declaration of accordance, of course only if the low-level concordat is not limited solely to the signature. Such operations may have differences depending on the constitutional articles of the state. If the text of the signed pact is ambivalent, then additional sources and an accurate investigation of the circumstances are used for its correct interpretation. When a covenant is simultaneously a constitution or statute of a certain transnational organization, a programmatic approach should be applied to introduce changes.

Binding Treaties

In 1969, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties was signed with a view to their subsequent classification. The document contains about 85 items that clearly spell out the rules of establishing, interpreting, and violating agreements. After 1980, more than 700 conventions were concluded bilaterally or multilaterally.

In cross-border practice, cases are known when a closed concordat allowed the participants to refuse to comply with certain statements, but to keep a loyalty to the main points. We are talking about so-called peripheral issues. Literally, any state can make official reservations to the treaty if they are compatible with the designated object and purpose.

Of course, other players may accept or object to such comments. In the first case, all the notes are fixed, but an agreement itself freely enters into force between the partners. In the second one, a concordat is legal only with respect to items that have received absolute support. A significant shortcoming of the proposed structure is that virtually every government independently determines the degree of admissibility of similar reservations.

The presence of an intermediary in the person of the United Nations and a unified codification system radically changed the standards of cooperation. According to generally accepted norms, self-governing pacts are immediately ratified, while non-self-governing ones become mandatory only in the case of a legislative decision. This procedure protects against the frequent desire of partners to review the concluded contract.

Breaking a Treaty

It's no secret that some states may break an agreement unilaterally, especially when it comes to protecting national interests or expanding the territory. Most of us expect that an international community will rush to the offender. Factually, the situation is somewhat different. The reason says that not all pacts are binding.

Let's recollect fresh events, namely: the intervention of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine or the US accusation of using chemical weapons in Syria. In both cases, the culprit piously convinces that there were no violations. If the clauses of the treaty are not mandatory, then its non-compliance is not an excuse for imposing sanctions or declaring war.

An opposite situation arises if the binding contract is violated. So, Muammar Gaddafi received a charge on behalf of the UN in committing crimes against humanity. Such a resolution led to the appearance of a decree that the Security Council is acting in defense of the citizens of Libya, which entailed the fall of a regime.

Strait of Ormuz also refers to the textbook episodes, due to its status as a strategic checkpoint. The fact is that the largest amount of oil passes through it. In 2012, the Iranian government voiced a threat to close the strait, which would negatively affect the cost of a barrel in the world market.

That is, with the creation of a unified legal system, an increasing number of countries are striving to contribute to the preservation of global stability. Of course, there are cases when even a signed contract does not have the proper authority. For instance, the US government was not stopped by the convention against torment in Guantánamo Bay.

Thus, treaties act as a serious way of political and economic impact. But numerous players either do not take them seriously, superficially looking at their content or are not too afraid of potential risks, hoping for their power. The world community should think over taming such negligent partners.