Jill McC. Watson
Other Non-print Sources for Treaties
Treaties are among the primary sources of international law. This chapter will give you some guidance on how to go about treaty research, using electronic resources. Since there is no such thing as a comprehensive collection of treaties in print or on-line, you will have to conduct your research with a certain amount of creativity, and a lot of perseverance.
I. Introduction to Treaty Research
While treaties are among the oldest forms of international law, (a treaty existed between the Hittites and Egyptians
(http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/ramses-hattusili-treaty.htm) around 1280 BC, for example), it is only relatively recently that they, and the rules under which they are formed, have become increasingly codified. After drafting efforts in the early 20th century by various bodies such as the League of Nations, the International Law Commission of the United Nations drafted the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) (http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf), which came into force in 1980.
Treaties may be bilateral (with two parties) or multilateral (involving many parties). The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm) is an example of a multilateral treaty, while the Canada-Argentina Investment Treaty (http://www.sice.oas.org/bits/canaarge.asp) represents a typical bilateral treaty.
The agreements between states go by a variety of names: the United Nations' "Treaty Reference Guide" (http://untreaty.un.org/English/guide.asp) "seeks to provide a basic - but not an exhaustive - overview of the key terms employed in the United Nations Treaty Collection to refer to international instruments binding at international law: treaties, agreements, conventions, charters, protocols, declarations, memoranda of understanding, modus vivendi and exchange of notes."
Professor Frederic Kirgis, of Washington & Lee, has written several brief but highly informative background papers on treaties: "International Agreements and U.S. Law" (http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh10.htm). Several other short pieces in the ASIL Insights series(http://www.asil.org/insights.htm) address treaty issues arising from current events: "North Korea's Withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" (http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh96.htm) and "Proposed Missile Defenses and the ABM Treaty" (http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh70.htm).
There are two separate elements to treaty research: finding the full text, and determining the status of the treaty, that is, who has signed and ratified the treaty and when, whether it has entered into force, or been altered by subsequent protocols or other amendments. The text must have some assurance of being authoritative, and the status statement should be as recent as possible. Electronic resources make checking status more up-to-the-minute, but authenticity remains unsure in this somewhat unstable format. On most Web sites, it will be unclear where the digitized text of the treaty has come from and how carefully it has been copied or scanned.
In response to these and other concerns about quality information from the internet, the American Society of International Law has developed a Web-based database, the Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) (http://www.eisil.org), of authoritative international law documents and other resources available on-line. Many of the records in EISIL are for treaties, and provide at least one link to the most authentic version of the instrument, a brief description, as well as added information on citation, dates and more.
There are a number of useful print collections of treaties (to which the University of California at Berkeley, for one, has provided a good, fully annotated research guide entitled "Treaties and International Agreements" (http://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/dynamic/ guide.php?guide=international_foreign/treaties). You can find the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) and its predecessor the League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS), as well as national collections such as the United States treaty series (UST) in various formats, but there is no one-stop collection of all the treaties in the world, electronic or print. Some treaties, such as NAFTA and GATT, have been put online by a variety of hosts - but it is important to try to gauge their authenticity as best you can. A misspelling of "Tarrifs" in GATT may serve as an alarm, or the fact that the entire title of a treaty is not included. Be skeptical!
Some general resources that collect all kinds of treaties, and sometimes even usefully arrange them by topic, are listed below.
II. Treaties on the Internet
1. General collections
The largest single collection of treaties on the internet is the United Nations Treaty Collection (http://treaties.un.org/Pages/Home.aspx?lang=en).. A new database has been launched in 2008. Over 158,000 treaties and related actions already published (in the 2200+ volumes of the UNTS) are available in English, French and any other authentic language used. Considerable efforts have been made by the UN to ensure that a treaty could be located with relative ease using such information as type of agreement, date of signature, entry into force, names of the parties and popular names. Production of full-text treaties currently is up to early 2005. One draw-back -- the database will give you the treaty text but no citation.
As mentioned above, the UN site's handy Treaty Reference Guide defines the different types of agreements (for example, "Modus Vivendi" which is an informal temporary agreement, intended to fill in until a permanent arrangement is put in place). Terms used to describe treaty actions, such as "deposit", "entry into force" and "reservation" are also defined.
The UN Treaty office has also produced "a practical guide to the depositary practice" called Treaty Handbook (http://untreaty.un.org/English/TreatyHandbook/hbframeset.htm). The Handbook includes a glossary of terms, flowcharts indicating the process treaties go through at the UN, and contact information for the UN Treaty Office. It's available in English, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
The Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) is an extensive database of links to quality international law information available on the Web. EISIL is developed and maintained by the ASIL and covers the entire field of international law. EISIL is useful because it not only connects researchers to the best Web version of a particular treaty, but also provides consideral value-added information such as legal citation, date of entry into force, and a brief description of the scope and significance of each instrument. EISIL's materials are arranged according to subject, so you can see what the most important treaties are in any particular field of international law. The data you find can be downloaded, printed or emailed.
One of the earliest (1992) general collections sites is the Multilaterals Project out of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (http://fletcher.tufts.edu/multilaterals.html), which arranges multilateral treaties both chronologically and according to subject, from "Atmosphere and Space" to "Gulf Area Borders," "Human Rights" and more. Be aware that this resource is not updated frequently.
Treaties may be put up on the internet by a variety of sources. In general, official sources offer the best assurance of authenticity. Listed below you will find governments, regional organizations (such as the European Union), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and universities.
- United States:
The US Department of State's Foreign Affairs Manual has a section called "Political Affairs" that includes "Treaties and Other International Agreements" (11 FAM 700) (http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam/c22997.htm) covering "the negotiation, signature, publication and registration of treaties and other international agreements of the United States." Guidance is provided right down to how much time to allow for engrossing (typing on treaty paper) of authentic copies and translation for signature by the parties.
The US Senate has prepared a short "historical overview" (http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/ history/common/briefing/Treaties.htm) on its role in the treaty-making process. (Senators as negotiators:bipartisanship; interpretation; etc).
In January, 2001, the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress updated its lengthy study entitled "Treaties and Other International Agreements: the Role of the United States Senate," (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_senate_print&docid=f:66922.pdf) which "summarizes international and U.S. law on treaties and other international agreements. It traces the process of making treaties through the various stages from their initiation and negotiation to ratification, entry into force, implementation and oversight, modification or termination---describing the respective senatorial and Presidential roles at each stage." (Introductory Note, page xi). It's a large (448 p) pdf file on the Web, and also available printed as 106th Cong. 2d Session S. Prt. 106-71.
Finding US Treaties: Old and New.
The United States Treaty Series has not been put on the Web by the US Department of State. The DOS Treaty Office has a web page on Treaty Affairs (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/text/index.htm) that will help guide your search, since they are "not equipped to serve as a routine source of first resort for texts of treaties...". They do have several important resources online, such as an up-to-date list of Treaty Actions (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/c3428.htm) covering 1997 to the present, but without full texts. It has links to Reporting International Agreements to Congress under the Case Act, (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/caseact/),and Treaties in Force, which is useful for finding citations to US treaties (described in the "Status of Treaties" section of this chapter).
This means that you must search around a variety of other sites to try to find treaties.
Before 1948, all US treaties approved by the Senate were published in US Statutes at Large (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsl.html). The Library of Congress has reproduced the first 18 volumes (1789-1875) as part of its American Memory Project.
The Thomas Web site from the Library of Congress, has a "Treaties" search page (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ treaties/treaties.htm) which makes it easier to search and/or browse through Congressional documents. "Treaty Status" is at the top of the page. For "Treaty Texts" scroll down. All agreements considered by the US Congress (over 650) from the 90th (1968) Congress to the 108th session are covered at least by title and status. Only treaties from or after the 104th (1996) offer full text.
You can search or browse the full text of the Congressional Record (http://ww w.gpoaccess.gov/ crecord/index.html) from 1994 to the present for information on treaties, which may produce such nuggets as the "Rules of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Treaties." Reservations, understandings, declarations and the like may be included in the text of the Congressional Record as well.
While the treaties are moving through the advice and consent, ratification or rejection process, they are tracked (though not provided full text) on the Legislation and Records: Treaties (http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/ d_three_sections_with_teasers/treaties.htm) section of the US Senate's Web site. Different files identify treaties received from the President, on the calendar, approved by the Senate, as well as those rejected or withdrawn during the current Congress. A 2-page CRS report to Congress, "Senate Consideration of Treaties" (http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/98-384.pdf) summarizes the process.
The Private International Law Database (http://www.state.gov/s/l/c3452.htm) at the US Department of State contains, among other useful primary documents, the most commonly used Hague Conventions (Service, Evidence, Document Legalization, Child Abduction), the 1958 "New York" Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, and many UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT documents.
The Commerce Department Trade Compliance Center (http://tcc.export.gov/index.asp) has texts of over 250 trade and related agreements in its "TARA" database (http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/index.asp). They are certified as complete and accurate, but not authentic reproductions. You can search on "Agreements" only, or include their reports, guides and trade policy review documents. Search on a particular country and only those agreements to which they are a party will appear. You can find full text of 40 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) between the US and other countries here, along with guides. Links are available to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (enforcing economic sanctions) and the Bureau of Export Administration. Agricultural Commodity Agreements such as tobacco, sugar, lumber and so on are not included but may be found under "Agreements" at the USDA Trade Policy Web site (http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/agreements.asp). These databases have been updated.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has a section on "Trade Agreements" (http://www.ustr.gov/ Trade_Agreements/Section_Index.html) which is divided into "Global", "Regional" and "Bilateral", including treaties on agricultural cooperation and global e-commerce.
The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) merged as of April 1999 with the State Department and has been reorganized several times. Now the Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security supervises the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (http://state.gov/t/isn/), the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs http://www.state.gov/t/pm/) and the Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation (http://state.gov/t/vci/). Each has its own treaty section, with agreements ranging from the "Hot Line Agreement"(1962) to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Analysis is included with some of the agreements.
The US Internal Revenue Service has placed pdf texts of over 60 income tax treaties (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/ international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html) between the US and other countries. For more up-to-date listing of tax treaties and their texts, consult the US Treasury Department's Tax Treaty Documents page (http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/tax-policy/treaties.shtml). New versions of the US Model Income Tax Convention and Explanation (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=164686,00.html) were issued in November 2006 and are available in pdf format.
A number of other countries are beginning to have limited treaty sections on their Web sites, but in many cases they consist of lists (without full text) or selective status charts. Nonetheless, more and more treaties are appearing on these sites, and they have the advantage of being official government versions. Some other governmental sites:
- Belgium's Federal Public Service Treaties page (http://www.diplomatie.be/en/treaties/default.asp), in English, explains how a treaty is concluded in Belgium. A list (no texts) of treaties for which they are depositary is available.
- Canada (http://www.treaty-accord.gc.ca/Section.asp?Page=TS) has a database called Canada Treaty Information that allows searching by subject and keyword of multi- and bilateral treaties. Included is a section on recent Canadian "Treaty Practice and Procedure." (http://www.treaty-accord.gc.ca/procedure.asp)
- China (http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/gjwt/tyfl/default.htm) has a partially filled-in Web database with some bilateral treaties and a section entitled "China's Work on Treaty and Law." It does not seem to have been updated for several years.
- Costa Rica (http://www.comex.go.cr/) has texts, in Spanish, of trade and investment accords.
- Portugal (http://www.gddc.pt/siii/tratados.html) has the texts of, and data on, international instruments published in the Official Gazette from 1960 to 2005. The texts available do not constitute an official version; only the ones published in the Official Gazette are authentic. They may be browsed by subject or by countries (in the case of bilateral instruments) or international organisations under whose auspices they were adopted. In Portuguese.
- Switzerland has a database (http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/topics/intla/intrea/dbintr.html) of all its treaties that are in force, as well as over 70 for which it acts a depository. It is searchable by keywords or accessible in arrangement by subject, country or international organization. The database contains a huge amount of information including dates, names of the treaty in other languages, and links to full text. A small portion is in English.
- UK (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/publications/treaties/) The site has texts for those treaties for which the UK acts as depository (with status information) as well as pdf files of "Treaty Command Papers" (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/publications/treaty-command-papers-ems/) published since 1997. There is a large collection of "Explanatory Memoranda" of treaties before Parliament from 1997 to the present covering areas from nuclear test ban to minority languages. Also, several interesting pdf files are listed on a "UK Practice and Procedures" page (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/publications/treaties/practice-procedures/).
3. International Organizations and Secretariats (IGOs)
The increasing number of Web sites by international and regional organizations offers another place to search for treaties. Some of these are secretariats responsible for a single treaty, while others are depositories for series of treaties.
Examples of single treaty secretariats include:
- The Climate Change Secretariat (http://unfccc.int/2860.php/) carries the text of the Convention and country-by-country coverage of ratification information and more.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat (http://www.biodiv.org/) does much the same as well as providing explanatory guides and handbooks to the Convention. It is unusual to find a record of negotiations, but an excellent 142-page pdf of the negotiations of the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, adopted in 2000, (http://www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/bs-brochure-03-en.pdf) is available here.
- The Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (http://www.cites.org) carries the text of the treaty as well as updated appendices and notifications on endangered species.
- The International Whaling Commission (http://www.iwcoffice.org/commission/convention.htm) provides the text and schedules for the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development site contains the full Convention on the OECD (1960) (http://www.oecd.org/document/8/0,2340,en_2649_201185_1915847_1_1_1_1,00.html) in French and English, as well as its Supplementary Protocols.
- The European Union site contains consolidated versions of the EU Treaty and recent amending treatries such as Lisbon (2007) (http://www.consilium.europa.eu/showPage.aspx?id=1296&lang=en) as well as, in EUR-lex , a searchable edition of the Official Journal of the European Communities (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm). Check also the agreements database of the Council of the European Union. (http://www.consilium.europa.eu/cms3_applications/Applications/accords/search.asp?lang=EN&cmsid=297)
- The Organization of American States has a treaties page (http://www.oas.org/DIL/AgreeAlpha-C.htm) which will allow for searching by year, subject, alphabetically, or by key words. This site also includes signatories and ratification data to 2003. The Charter of the OAS (http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/charter.html) is available in searchable full text, as are over 65 other InterAmerican treaties from 1948-2003. An analysis, with graphs, of regional treaties is provided, called "The Inter-American Legal System - a Comparison of the Inter-American Treaties 1947-2001" (http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/studies2.htm).
- The Council of Europe (http://conventions.coe.int) carries its founding Statute of 1949, as well as monthly changes in status of its 200+ treaties. Interestingly, it provides full text of not-yet-in-force treaties on such subjects as cybercrime and organ transplants, as well as draft treaties. Now also available in French, German, Italian and Russian. Glossaries of terms are available in these 5 languages.
- NATO's "On-line Library" has a Basic Texts (http://www.nato.int/docu/basics.htm) section that includes the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty in both French and English, as well as many useful ancillary agreements such as status of forces and protocols of accession. The site includes the 2006 NATO/Afghanistan Declaration ()in English, French, Dali and Pashto setting the framework for cooperation.
- The World Trade Organization (http://www.wto.org) has good summaries of the various Uruguay Round agreements (http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm) including the full text of the Marrakesh Agreement which established the WTO.
- WIPO's Secretariat (http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/) with texts of more than twenty intellectual property treaties
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (http://www.iaea.or.at/Publications/Documents/Conventions/) which provides summaries, status, parties and multilingual full text of IAEA as well as related nuclear treaties.
- UNESCO (http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=12025&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=-471.html) has a variety of legal instruments including conventions, declarations and resolutions back to 1948..
- The ILO (http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp1.htm) has an 8 language full-text database starting in 1919, that has at least 185 of its labor treaties, as well as status information. They may be displayed by subject.
- Use the UNHCR (http://www.unhcr.org/) advanced search, typing "Convention" to discover full-text treaties on refugees, asylum, statelessness, as well as commentaries, and the Travaux Preparatoires on the 1951 Refugee Convention.
- The International Maritime Organization, (http://www.imo.org/HOME.html) promoting safety at sea and the prevention of pollution, provides a good description of the history and procedures of adopting IMO maritime conventions. Note the Sources and Citations for IMO Conventions.(http://www.imo.org/InfoResource/mainframe.asp?topic_id=834)
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (http://www.fao.org/legal/index_en.htm) has text and status on its treaties (http://www.fao.org/Legal/TREATIES/Treaty-e.htm) from foot-and-mouth disease to desert locusts. FAOLEX (http://faolex.fao.org/faolex/index.htm) is a legislative database, "the world's largest", of national laws and regulations -- and also treaties -- on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources. A search on "fisheries" narrowed to the Middle East Region will bring up everything from Israeli Sponge Fishing Regulation, to the Maritime Boundary Agreement between Israel and Jordan. While some of the full-text documents are not in English, summaries generally are. The "other databases" button reveals Fishlex (Coastal State Requirements for Foreign Fishing") (http://faolex.fao.org/fishery/) and Waterlex ("International agreements on international water resources. (http://faolex.fao.org/waterlex/)
- UNIDROIT (http://www.unidroit.org/english/conventions/c-main.htm) (the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) has the texts of the conventions they have drawn up since 1964 that have been adopted by their member states, as well as a status section (http://www.unidroit.org/english/implement/i-main.htm) with signatures, ratifications, declarations and reservations.
- The Web site of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.listing), which was established in 1893 (the Conference, not the Web site!) carries the full text of 40-some conventions they have drafted over the years. For each convention, an Explanatory Report, a full status report, a bibliography and a list of citations to various translations is provided. A handy chart of the 69 Member States (http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=states.listing) of the Conference allows you to click on countries to find a complete list of those Conventions they have signed, contact information for that country's Ministry of Justice or Foreign Relations, and animated versions of their national flags.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (http://www.icrc.org/ihl) has the texts of and commentary on the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the Laws of War, as well as many other treaties and documents on humanitarian law such as the "Lieber Code" from the American Civil War (1863) and subsequent conventions from the late 19th and early 20th century. You can discover which specific articles of over 100 conventions cover "civilians," for example, by checking off "articles" on the search engine. The Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions are extremely detailed. For example, the one on the now famous "common Article 3" that addresses rules covering "Conflicts not of an international character" and appears in all four conventions, presents a lengthy historical overview and analysis of terms , such as "humane treatment."
- On their site, Juris International (http://www.jurisint.org/) a partnership of the Universities of Montreal and Nancy, France and the International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO), has collected trade treaties in English, Spanish and French, fully searchable as well as arranged by country, by subject or chronologically. They offer status information, text, and a link to the Secretariat where appropriate.
- The University of Minnesota Human Rights Library has a well-organized, comprehensive, and easy-to-use collection of human rights treaties and instruments (http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/treaties.htm). An enormous added value of this site is the inclusion of citations to print sources for each instrument.
- The Internet Guide to International Fisheries Law (http://www.intfish.net/igifl/index.htm) has compiled a database of 1000 texts on fisheries and marine conservation, including links to over 500 treaties, as well as helpful secondary information. Some sections require a subscription. Not recently updated.
- The United States Institute of Peace's Peace Agreements Digital Collection (http://www.usip.org/library/pa.html) "strives to contain the full text of agreements signed by the major contending parties ending inter- and intra-state conflicts worldwide since 1989." It covers peace agreements, border agreements, ceasefires and reconciliation arrangments in conflicts from Sudan to Kosovo to Northern Ireland.
5. Status of Treaties
Determining the status of treaties requires quite different searching techniques. While the text of a treaty is essentially immutable, its status is constantly changing. Once it is signed, which indicates the finality of the text, it still must enter into force. Subsequently it can be amended by additional instruments, replaced by a new agreement, be terminated, or have more or less parties agree to it.
Some issues relating to signature and ratification are discussed in Curtis Bradley's brief May 2002 ASIL Insight entitled "U.S. Announces Intent Not to Ratify International Criminal Court Treaty." (http://www.asil.org/insights/insigh87.htm) Issues arising from the U.S. delay in ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention are analyzed in David Caron and Harry Scheiber's "The United States and the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty" (2007) (http://asil.org/insights/2007/06/insights070611.html)
In the United States, the status of treaties is relatively easy to determine, because the Department of State publishes Treaties in Force (TIF) (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/treaties/) once a year which lays out what bilateral and multilateral treaties are currently in force. The most recent TIF that is online is January 1, 2007. The volume is presented in pdf format and is over 500 pages long so it can be a bit awkward to use. To find updates to this publication, one must consult "Treaty Actions" (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/c3428.htm), arranged by year covering 1997-2008. The site also tracks "Treaties Recently Received in the Senate" with links to text.
Appropriately, the status of over 500 multilateral treaties that have been deposited with the UN is findable through the UN Treaty Collection (http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ParticipationStatus.aspx). The status, reservations and declarations information on these treaties are available in an annual 1000-page print version. The online version is currently updated in real-time mode.
The UN has conducted "treaty events" annually since 2000 (the Millennium Summit), trying to encourage member states to sign and/or ratify multilateral conventions. The 2008 event focused on "Towards Universal Participation and Implementation: Dignity and Justice for All of Us".) (http://treaties.un.org/Pages/TreatyEvents.aspx?pathtreaty=Treaty/Focus/Page1_en.xml )
2007 saw A Comprehensive Legal Framework for Peace Development and Human Rights." (http://untreaty.un.org/English/TreatyEvent2007/book_english.pdf) , and in 2006 the subject was Crossing Borders (http://untreaty.un.org/English/TreatyEvent2006/Focus2006_eng.pdf). "
Previous treaty events have focused on organized crime, terrorism, sustainable development among other subjects.
At the UN, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea provides status information on the LOS Convention (http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_agreements.htm).
When all else fails you may want to reach for the phone (http://www.asil.org/treaty1.cfm#sect34).
6. Reservations to Treaties
The International Law Commission of the UN maintains an on-line Analytical Guide (http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/publications/analyticalguide/analyticalguide_1949-1997.htm) on its codification work, including that on reservations. The 2001 draft text of the "Guide to Practice" on Reservations to Treaties (http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/reports/2001/english/chp6.pdf) is online, as well as commentary and history of the work on this still developing topic. Updates on further work of the Commission on this subject may be found in Chapter VI of the 2008 ILC Report.(http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/reports/2008/2008report.htm)
In the case of multilateral treaties, states may choose to unilaterally modify or even decline to accept certain provisions of the treaty even though they have signed and ratified it. These reservations (as well as Declarations and Objections) are not published in Treaties in Force, but may be found at the UN Treaty Collection (http://treaties.un.org/Pages/Home.aspx?lang=en). After the tables that indicate which countries have become parties and when, the texts of the Reservations and so on are provided. Information available for free is not as up-to-date as subscription-accessible material.
Some readings on reservations are identified below:
Professor Frederic Kirgis presents a concise analysis of U.S. policy and practice in an ASIL Insight entitled "Reservations to Treaties and United States Practice" (May 2003) (http://www.asil.org/insigh105.cfm).
A paper on "Treaty Reservations and the Economics of Article 21(1) of the Vienna Convention," (http://www.gmu.edu/departments/law/faculty/papers/docs/02-07.pdf) by Francesco Parisi and Catherine Sevcenko (George Mason University) offers history and analysis of reservations. A July 2002 article by Ryan Goodman in the American Journal of International Law examines "Human Rights Treaties, Invalid Reservations and State Consent" (http://www.asil.org/ajil/goodman.pdf).
"The Effect of Reservations on the Entry Into Force of the American Convention on Human Rights" (http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/iachr/b_11_4b.htm) is an Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
III. Other Non-print Sources for Treaties
1. On-Line Commercial Services
William S. Hein's "Treaty and Agreements Library" is just part of a large collection of full-text journal articles, the Federal Register, and Supreme Court Decisions that make up their subscription-based Hein Online service. It includes all US agreements including unpublished ones; a complete set of Treaties in Force; and early US treaties from sets such as Bevans. A detailed Quick Reference Guide (http://heinonline.org/HeinDocs/UN_QuickRefGuide.pdf) shows step-by-step how to research its content and find treaties from multiple points such as citation, popular name, country, date, and more.
The USTRTY file in LEXIS has the full text of all treaties to which the US is currently, or has been, a party. These texts are drawn from official government sources, and contain both LEXIS cites as well as, when possible, cites to Bevans, TIAS and UST. Coverage is 1776 to the present.
Since ILM is carried fully from its inception to the present on LEXIS, all the treaties that have been published there are available (in the INTLAW library, ILM file). The documents provided by ASIL for the International Economic Law database (INTLAW libary, BDIEL file) are available, along with EC treaties, and a great number of tax treaties provided by the IBFD, including some to which the US is not a party.
LEXIS (http://www.lexisnexis.com/) has a Web site with more information.
Treaties & International Agreements Online from Oceana (now owned by Oxford University Press) carries the full text of US treaties from 1783 to the present. It is available by subscription on an incremental or annual basis. By registering at the Oceana Web site (http://www.oceanalaw.com) you can search 12,000 US treaties for free via an index, and then pay if you want the text. Oceana offers several services on their Web site: TIARA U.S. Treaties Researcher, TIARA U.S. Treaties Index, and Quick U.S. Treaties Index. The Index will allow you to search the TIARA database and access the treaties for a fee.
Coverage of treaties in Westlaw is outlined in their database directory.
WESTLAW does provide information for locating citations to treaties or information about recent treaties by using the full-text law reviews and newspaper sources. A useful place to look is INT-NEWS which contains documents from newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, transcripts and wire services from around the world. This resource would rarely produce the full text of treaties but rather information about them.
The WESTLAW Web site (http://www.westlaw.com/) has information about their services.
2. Useful Phones
Sometimes the best technology to use to find the most authoritative, up-to-date information on treaties is the telephone. Some key numbers in the U.S. for obtaining cites, status and sometimes even hard copy of treaties are:
- Treaty Affairs, US Department of State: (202) 647-1345 FAX: (202) 736-7541
- United Nations Treaty Office: (212) 963-2523 FAX: 963-3693
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: (202) 224-4651 FAX (202) 228-3612
- Country Desks at Commerce: Call (202) 482-2000 and ask for country desk.
- Country Desks at State: Call (202) 647-4000 and ask for particular country desk, or use the DoS online Phone Directory. (http://state.gov/m/a/gps/directory/)
If a treaty is hard to identify, or there is some question about whether it actually exists, it is useful to consult the secondary literature on the subject. Researchers also may wish to broaden their quest to include information and analysis -- on treaty interpretation or termination for example.
Finding secondary materials electronically on international law in general, and treaties in particular is much like other electronic research.
- Peace Palace Library, at the International Court of Justice in The Hague (http://www.ppl.nl/) has over 800,000 volumes and adds 5000 titles per year. The holdings include the Grotius Collection, on the important 17th century Dutchman Hugo de Groot, regarded by many as the founder of international law. A new system of "plinklets" allows you to search many different resources (including Amazon and Google) at the same time.
- and there is always The Library of Congress' (http://www.loc.gov/) catalog
- Other "OPACS" (18,000 of them) are listed geographically and by library type (military, university, public) in LibDex (http://www.libdex.com/), which will give you easy access to the British Library, (http://www.bl.uk/) for example.
- In the free ASILEX database (http://www.dcdata.com/asil/asil.htm), compiled by the ASIL Library, you can search through more than thousands of titles of articles, reports, documents, proceedings and books published by the American Society of International Law. The search terms "convention*/treat*" probably pulls the most articles on this subject. Searches may be limited by date. Note: this is a bibliographic database, not full texts.
- Indexes to periodical articles include Ingentaconnect (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/;jsessionid=166fotp7oo6l1.henrietta), which is a multidisciplinary database of academic and professional publications, searchable or browseable by author, topic and periodical title for free. Content (about 26 million items) is flagged as free or fee-based.
- The Max Planck Institute's "Public International Law: A Current Bibliography of Articles" lists treaty materials in Section 5.3. (http://www.mpil.de/ww/en/pub/library/catalogues_databases/doc_of_articles/pil.cfm)
- LEXIS and WESTLAW provide full-text access to journals and law reviews, generally with coverage starting in the 1980s.
- On CD-ROM or by internet subscription, the the American Association of Law Libraries' Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) covers multilingual articles from over 500 legal journals 1985-present. A search on the term "treat*" calls up thousands of records, many of which have the term in the title field. The software is easy to use, and you can narrow your search bit-by-bit (http://www.ovid.com/site/catalog/DataBase/104.jsp?top=2&mid=3&bottom=7&subsection=10). (Also available on RLIN and WESTLAW.)
Two relatively new additions to the online information arsenal are blogs and wikis.
- Blog is short for web log. They are usually subject-oriented and maintained by individuals or small groups. They are typically updated daily and contain comments, discussions and links to other web sites or blogs. Readers can post comments and take part in blog discussions. A good example of blog material is The Abiding Relevance of Treaty Interpretation (2009) (http://opiniojuris.org/tag/gardiner-treaty-interpretation-symposium/), a discussion of Richard Gardiner's book and the subject in general on the Opinio Juris blog (http://www.opiniojuris.org/) . Another interesting Opinio Juris discussion (http://opiniojuris.org/tag/treaties-end/) on Oona Hathaway's Yale Law Journal article "Treaties' End: The Past, Present and Furture of International Lawmaking in the United States" (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1108065) appeared in spring of 2008.
- A wiki is a collaborative web site whereby users are allowed unrestricted access to add or edit content. The most well known is the Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), which has a "Treaty" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty) entry. It includes a historical linked list of major treaties, which though not comprehensive, is interesting for its chronological presentation -- it's divided into sections pre-1300, 1300-1699, and then by century to the present. Note also that Wikipedia has a WikiProject: International Law page. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_International_law)
Since there is no comprehensive one-stop collection of treaties available electronically (or in print) it is often helpful to approach your search from a specialized subject angle. For those areas covered by this Guide, some examples of treaty resources may be found in the following chapters:
- Human rights: Human Rights Chapter by Marci Hoffman, University of California, Berkeley School of Law(http://www.asil.org/humrts1.cfm)
- Environment: International Environmental Law Chapter by Anne Burnett, University of Georgia (http://www.asil.org/env1.cfm)
- Trade and Finance: International Economic Law Chapter by Jean M. Wenger, Cook County Law Library (http://www.asil.org/iel1.cfm)
- Criminal Law: International Criminal Law Chapter by Gail Partin, Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University (http://www.asil.org/crim1.cfm)
- Private International Law: Private International Law Chapter by Louise Tsang, White and Case (http://www.asil.org/pil1.cfm)
- United Nations: United Nations Chapter by Kelly Vinopal, American Society of International Law (http://www.asil.org/un1.cfm)
- Arbitration: International Commercial Arbitration Chapter by Gloria Miccioli, (http://www.asil.org/arb1.cfm)
- International Organizations: International Organizations Chapter by Anne Burnett, University of Georgia (http://www.asil.org/intorg1.cfm)
- Intellectual Property: Intellectual Property Chapter by Jonathan Franklin, University of Washington. (http://www.asil.org/ip1.cfm)
- The American Society of International Law's current awareness publication International Law In Brief (http://www.asil.org/ilibmenu.cfm) is a free, bi-monthly email service. It carries "analytical abstracts of significant documents reflective of the broad, contemporary nature of international law".
- ASIL Insights Online is also available both on the ASIL Web site (http://www.asil.org/insights.cfm) and as a free email service. Concise, unbiased essays outline the international law issues behind current events. Some examples are: "The United States and the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty." (2007) (http://asil.org/insights/2007/06/insights070611.html) and "Russia Suspends CFE Treaty Participation" (2007). (http://asil.org/insights/2007/07/insights070723.html). Recent titles include "International Law Commission Adopts Draft Articles on a Transboundary Acquifers Convention" (2008) (http://www.asil.org/insights080827.cfm) , and "The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Taking Stock After the May 2008 Preparatory Committee Meeting" (2008).(http://www.asil.org/insights080630.cfm)
- The Law Library Resource Xchange (LLRX) (http://www.llrx.com/index.htm) publishes excellent guides to foreign and international legal research.
- The Avalon Project (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp) at Yale is a wonderful cross-disciplinary (though US-oriented) approach which gives a greater international relations context to treaties over the last several hundred years. Their goal is to "mount digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government," which means they can include anything!
Thus in the World War II Documents section you will find agreements such as the Anglo-American Mutual Aid Agreement (1942) (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/angam42.asp), and the Atlantic Charter (1941) .(http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/atlantic.asp). But you will also find the full text of telegrams that went back and forth between Churchill (code-named "Former Naval Person") and Roosevelt, as well as UN documents, declarations of war and Joint Resolutions of Congress.
The whole site, and each section individually have conveniently located search engines, as well as alphabetical listings of documents.
- A project at Rice University called the Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions Project covers military alliances worldwide from 1815 to 2003. (http://atop.rice.edu/)
- Dartmouth's Center for International Business has put together Tuck Trade Agreements searchable by more than 70 indesed provision vields (investment, agriculture, labor etc.) (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~tradedb/)
A site called Ariga has an interesting collection of Historic Documents and Treaties, (http://www.ariga.com/treaties/index.shtml#1900-1949) that relate to the Arab-Israeli peace process from 1900 to the present. Documents include the Balfour Declaration (1917), Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), Camp David (1978) and the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative (2002).
- The Atlas of International Freshwater Agreements (http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/publications/atlas/) is an interesting group of interrelated databases that includes a spatial database (http://ocid.nacse.org/tfdd/) of freshwater disputes that allows linking treaties with biophysical, socioeconomic, and geopolitical data, all searchable.
The United Nations has put together a treaty resource for younger international law enthusiasts on its CyberSchoolBus (http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/). The Treaty Project (http://www0.un.org/cyberschoolbus/treaties/index.asp) gives a student-oriented summary of 25 of the core treaties that are central to the "spirit and goals of the UN Charter."
Internet search engines all have different strengths and weaknesses. Try several, since you will find that you come up with quite different hits with the same search strategy. Some good ones: