“Treaties are like roses and young

girls. They last while they last.”

–Charles de Gaulle – (1890 – 1970)

Under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969, a treaty is defined as an international agreement concluded between states in written form and guided by international law. Oral agreements between state representatives can also be binding. Treaties are covered by the principle of ‘PactaSuntServanda’ that they are binding and are to be executed in good faith. States can designate anyone to represent it for the purpose of concluding a treaty provided that person has been given ‘full powers’

The term full powersmean that the concerned person will have been issued a document indicating that such powers have been conferred on him. Certain state representatives are automatically considered to have full powers owing to the position they occupy.

Every state makes its own laws regarding which government organs have the power to make a treaty binding on the state. In the UK, the executive enters into treaties but they then require an act of Parliament in order to become part of British law. In the US, the executive branch negotiates and signs the treaty and then sends it to the Senate for its advice and consent by a two-thirds vote.

After internal ratification, has taken place, the state sends a formal notice of consent either to the parties to the treaty or to where the treaty is to be deposited. The treaty also needs to be registered with the United Nations.