In this article, the concept of an international treaty was explained by Naina Solanki, a student at the Prestige Institute for Management and Research.
Contracts are those written agreements that create a relationship between the contracting parties under international law. The contracting parties can be two or more states or an international organization. From the above definition; you can see that-
- The contract doesn’t always have to be in writing, but oral agreements are not precise. Therefore, written agreements are preferable when drafting contracts.
- The status of the relationship can be legal, moral or political, depending on the subject of the contract.
A contract simply means a relationship between the parties to it, it can be referred to as an agreement, protocol, agreement, contract, etc.
Treaties are the binding force behind international law. They exist long before modern international law came into force.
Convention on the Law of Treaties
There is a convention to codify the treaty laws, namely the Vienna Convention. The International Law Commission selected this convention in 1949; and its work was completed by 1966. In 1968 the United Nations Conference examined the draft articles and finally at a conference on May 23, 1969; Contract law was adopted as the Vienna Convention.
The Convention consists of a preamble, eight parts with 85 articles. There are currently 116 signatory states to the Convention.
The law of the treaty applies to states that are parties to the convention. This means that the Vienna Convention does not apply to other states or organizations that are not party to the Vienna Convention.
Types of contracts
A contract can be classified based on the number of contracting parties and its type.
Bilateral contract – This contract is more like a contract between two parties. This means that only two companies are involved in such a contract, it is more a contractual relationship between two parties or states.
Example – Panchsheel Pact.
Pluri Side Contract – In this type of contract, the contract is open to a limited number of parties or states. The minimum number of parties should be more than two.
Example: OPEC (Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries), NAFTA (Free Trade Agreement for North America), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
Multilateral Contract – A contract that is open to participation without restriction. The multilateral treaty covers the majority of states and generally creates a norm in international law. They are mainly human rights oriented and deal with moral issues.
Example – Paris Agreement.
Law Establishing a Treaty – The legal treaty, part of the multilateral treaty that created a mandatory norm in international law and changed local laws on a large scale, is known as the Legislative Treaty.
Contractual treaty – The agreement between two states is usually contractual.
International law does not provide for a specific or rigid procedure for the formation and conclusion of a treaty. The contracting parties are free to choose their own procedure and language. However, a general process is followed when concluding contracts under the Vienna Convention.
A contract is concluded through the following process:
- Appointment of a person by the contracting parties
- Adoption of text
- Come into effect
- Registration and publication
- First, the person who enters into the treaty is accredited as a representative by the contracting states. You can be either head of state or minister or secretary or other agency.
- After the proper representatives have been appointed, they negotiate the terms of the agreement.
- The text of the contract is accepted by agreement by both or all parties.
- Consent to the agreement can be given in various forms such as signature, exchange of instruments, ratification, etc.
- In accordance with the terms of the contract, it will come into force on the specified date.
- And it needs to be registered with the United Nations Secretariat and published so that a legally binding agreement can be made.
Application of the contract
Treaties ensure stability in international dynamics. A closed world without treaties does not create relations between its countries. A treaty creates relationships between nations, whether legal, political, social, or economic. Without a formal agreement, the parties’ rights and obligations are irrelevant.
Treaties play an important role in maintaining the balance of states and the fair relationship between all.
The drafting of the contract and the conclusion are not completed if some of the basic principles are not followed. There are certain principles that are essential in a contract, and if a contract breaks those principles it is usually void. Some of these principles are listed below:
- Free consent
- Jus Cogens
- Part performance
- Affairs stand
- Agreements are to be observed
- Agreements Tertis can neither harm nor help
- To make a treaty legally binding and valid, consent between states should be mutual and willful.
- Reserving a contract means accepting part of the contract. A reserved portion of a contract can be accepted by either one or more parties unless objections have been raised by other parties.
- Jus cogens means that the principles that make up the norms of international law cannot be overridden. If a contract violates such principles, it violates jus cogens and the contract becomes invalid.
- If one or more contracting parties violate part of a contract, they may or may not terminate the entire contract under international law.
- A fundamental change in circumstances can end a contract – rebus sic stantibus
- A contract with free consent and in good faith is considered valid. Pacta Sun Servanda
- A contract is only binding on its contracting parties. This means that rights and obligations from a contract are limited to the contracting parties. There are some exceptions when rights and obligations can be assigned to third countries.
Invalidity and termination
This is provided for in Articles 65 to 68 of the Vienna Convention. According to Article 65, if a party wishes to terminate a contract, this must be communicated through a written instrument signed by the competent authority. And if another party wants to object, the deadline is 3 months.
In contract law, a contract expires in various circumstances. Similarly, the Vienna Convention has given some reasons why a contract may become invalid under Articles 46-53. These reasons are as follows:
- Ultra Vires contracts
- Amounted to
- Coercion from states and representatives
- Jus cogens
Ultra Vires contracts:
Article 46 of the Vienna Convention states that a state which only wishes to invalidate a contract on the grounds that it violates its domestic law can only invoke it if there is an exceptional situation.
International law takes precedence over international and internal law.
A contract can become invalid if the contract is defective under Article 48 of the Vienna Convention. If an error is factual or if this was the basis for binding the party to the contract and this does not now exist, the contract can become invalid. However, if the mistake could have been avoided, it will not invalidate a contract. An error in relation to the wording of the contract text does not affect its validity either.
Amounted to :
Article 49 of the Vienna Convention states that the contract becomes invalid if a state has been tricked into entering into a contract by another party.
Corruption of the representative:
Article 50 of the Vienna Convention states that a contract becomes invalid if the consent of the state has been obtained through the direct or indirect corruption of its representative by another party. It does not contain small favors for the representative.
Compulsory representative and states:
If the representative of a state is threatened to give consent, the contract becomes invalid under Article 51 of the Vienna Convention. According to Article 52 of the same, a contract becomes invalid if its conclusions have been obtained through threats or the use of force. This rule concludes that economic and political coercion will not abolish a contract.
A contract is void if it violates or contradicts the norms or principles that are at the core of international law.
Termination categorically means the end of a contract and nothing else. In a bilateral treaty, the contract ends completely, while in a multilateral treaty it ends for one party. The termination of a contract is the termination according to the Vienna Convention.
Article 3 of Part V of the Vienna Convention provides conditions for the termination of the contract. The contract can be terminated by consent, by termination, by entering into another contract, by breach, impossibility of performance, in accordance with the terms of the contract, by the emergence of legal cogens and by fundamental change in circumstances.
Treaties are the wheels of international law that keep it going. Without treaties there would be no formal relationship between states. A contract is a legally binding agreement between the parties that puts them in a relationship. These contracts play an essential role in regulating the relationship. Peace treaty, political treaty, moral agreement, technological agreement, exchange of specialists, weapons, vaccines, etc. are possible on the basis of this agreement of contract drafting and conclusion.
The Vienna Convention regulates the contracts and the contracts regulate the relationship between the parties.
What does a contract mean?
contract, a mandatory formal approval, Treaty, or other written instrument that establishes obligations between two or more subjects of international law (mainly states and international organizations).
Examples of contracts
The contract from Paris is a example of a peace agreement. These contract ended the war of independence. More recently, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is one contract between the United States, Canada and Mexico. It was signed in 1992 but did not come into force until 1994.
What are the goals of contracts?
A contract is an official, express written agreement that states are legally bound by. A contract is an official document that expresses this agreement in words; it is that too Goal setting Result of a ceremonial occasion where the parties and their defined relationships are recognized.