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General International Treaty Research Guide  

This guide doesn't include U.S. treaty research resouces
Last Updated: Jul 17, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This bibliography is prepared to help with public international law research, particularly researching treaties to which the United States is not necessarily a party and related documents (U.S. Treaties are also searchable from these resources). 

1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 2 defines “treaty” as "an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation."  Regardless of the names of treaties, therefore, under Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the Court shall apply international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states in addition to international custom and the general principles of law. However, in the United States, a treaty means an agreement ratified by the Senate, which is distinguished from executive agreements not submitted to the Senate.

When you are researching treaties, you will be looking for the text of the treaty, status and ratification information, declarations and reservations states made, and background documents including preparatory works (Travaux Préparatoires).


Research Strategy


Search Terms

 Terms of art: treaties, agreements, conventions, charters, protocols, declarations, memoranda of understanding, modus vivendi, exchange of letters/notes, adoption, acceptance, approval, accession, confirmation, amendment, authentication, correction of errors, declarations, definite signature, deposit, entry into force, modification, notification, objection, ratification, registration, reservation, signature ad referendum (Refer to Treaty Reference Guide by UN Office of Legal Affairs: Treaty Section).


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