Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Library

1. Treaties

 

1.1 Treaty Texts

1.1.1. General Treaty Series
1.1.1.1. Consolidated Treaty Series
1.1.1.2. League of Nations Treaty Series
1.1.1.3. United Nations Treaty Series
1.1.1.4. International Legislation

1.1.2. National Treaty Series
1.1.2.1. The Netherlands
1.1.2.2. United States
1.1.2.3. Australian Treaty Series
1.1.2.4. British and Foreign State Papers
1.1.2.5. Recueil des Traités et Accords de la France
1.1.2.6. Germany

1.1.3. Other Collections
1.1.3.1. European Treaty Series
1.1.3.2. European Union
1.1.3.3. Inter-American Treaties within the Framework of the OAS
1.1.3.4. Other International Organizations, Treaty Secretariats and NGO’s
1.1.3.5. International Legal Materials

1.2. Ratifications, Reservations, Declarations

1.3. Travaux préparatoires/commentaries



1.1. Treaty Texts

1.1.1. General Treaty Series

There are three general treaty-series, which together cover the period from 1648 up to the present.

1.1.1.1. Consolidated Treaty Series
Edited by Clive Parry, the CTS is a compilation of a large number of treaty collections.
Period: 1648-1920
Index: the series has three indexes, a General Chronological List, a Special Chronological List (colonial and postal treaties), and a Party Index. Another useful tool for multilateral treaties is the Multilateral Treaty Calendar, edited by Wiktor, which covers the period 1648-1995.
Citation: "volume nr." CTS "page nr." (e.g. 206 CTS 173), the page nr. being the first page of the particular treaty.

1.1.1.2. League of Nations Treaty Series
Registration of treaties by member states, pursuant to article 18 of the LoN Covenant. In addition to the paper edition, the complete LNTS is also available online.
Period: 1920-1946
Index: there is a General Index, which consists of a Chronological Index, an index of General International Agreements, and an Alphabetical Index (countries and subjects). Other useful indexes are: the World Treaty Index, edited by Rohn, which covers the period 1920-1980. It contains party, subject and chronological indexes; the Multilateral Treaty Calendar, edited by Wiktor, which covers the period 1648-1995. In addition, you can search the online edition of the LNTS using the search engine, in which a selection can be made as to date, parties, subject, popular treaty name, and words in title. You will find information about the treaty as well as the treaty text itself.
Citation: "volume nr." LNTS "page nr." (e.g. 123 LNTS 59), again the page nr. being the first page of the particular treaty.

1.1.1.3. United Nations Treaty Series
Registration after entry into force of treaties by member states, pursuant to article 102 of the UN Charter. In addition to the paper edition the complete UNTS is also available online.
Period: 1946-… Unfortunately, the UNTS is some years behind. Moreover, treaties are published not until their entry into force. For some multilateral treaties there can be a long period between conclusion of the treaty and its entry into force. Therefore, when you need recent treaties or a treaty concluded but not yet entered into force, you have to use other treaty series (see sections 1.1.2. and 1.1.3.).
Index: the indexes of the UNTS itself are not very user-friendly and, in addition, some years behind. Other paper indexes are: the World Treaty Index, edited by Rohn, which covers the period 1920-1980. This contains party, subject and chronological indexes; the Multilateral Treaty Calendar, edited by Wiktor, which covers the period 1648-1995. In addition, you can search the online edition of the UNTS using the search engine, in which a selection can be made as to date, parties, subject, popular treaty name, and words in title. You will find information about the treaty as well as the treaty text itself.
Citation: "volume nr." UNTS "page nr." (e.g. 1287 UNTS 113), again the page nr. being the first page of the particular treaty.

1.1.1.4. International Legislation
Edited by Manley Hudson, International Legislation is a collection of important treaties and other texts, some of them being omitted from the LNTS.
Period: 1919-1945
Index: each volume has a Chronological List, a Subject List and a detailed Subject Index (a cumulative subject index for vols. 1-4 in vol. 4).
Citation: there is no citation method given. Citation is therefore at the discretion of the author, provided it is used in a consistent manner.


1.1.2. National Treaty Series

1.1.2.1. The Netherlands

Tractatenblad (Dutch Treaty Series)
Collection of all treaties, to which the Netherlands is a party. An advantage, compared to the UNTS, is that treaties are already published after they are concluded. Dutch translations of general international conventions (though not as authentic text) are also published, usually after ratification by the Netherlands.
Period: 1951- …
Index: annual indexes for each year, cumulative ten-year indexes till 1990. The indexes contain a chronological and an alphabetical (countries and subjects) part. For the current and preceding year, for which there are not yet paper indexes available, you can use the Opmaat or overheid.nl database. This database contains the full text of, inter alia, the Tractatenblad from 1-1-95.
In addition, the Verdragenbibliotheek database (in the Kluwer Navigator) contains the texts (authentic language(s) + Dutch translation) of several hundreds of treaties, to which the Netherlands is a party. Each record includes references to the publications in the Tractatenblad.
The Treaty Database, published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contains treaties whose texts date from 1981 or later and treaties for which the Netherlands is the depositary. Since 2003 all reservations, declarations and objections are listed in the database.
Citation: Trb. "year", "nr." (e.g. Trb. 1994, 12)

Staatsblad (Dutch Official Journal)
Before the Tractatenblad, treaties to which the Netherlands were a party, were published in the Staatsblad.
Period: 1813-1950
Index: Register op het Staatsblad; Repertorium van door Nederland tussen 1813-1950 gesloten verdragen, edited by A.M. Stuyt; Répertoire Historique et Chronologique des Traités Conclus par la Hollande (1789-1845), by H.A. van Dijk; Répertoire des Traités et des Engagements Internationaux Concernant les Pays-Bas (1845-1900), by C.J.E. Bosmans & M. Visser; Répertoire des Traités et des Engagements Internationaux du XXe Siècle Concernant les Pays-Bas (1901-1921), by C.J.E. Bosmans & M. Visser.
Citation: Stb. "year", "nr." (e.g. Stb. 1845, 26)

Recueil des Traités et Conventions conclus par Le Royaume des Pays-Bas etc.
Edited by E.G. Lagemans and J.B. Breukelman.
Period: 1813-1924
Index: most of the volumes contain a chronological and a party index. There are also two editions of Aperçu Général which cover the periode 1813-1900. See also Repertorium van door Nederland tussen 1813-1950 gesloten verdragen, edited by A.M. Stuyt; Répertoire Historique et Chronologique des Traités Conclus par la Hollande (1789-1845), by H.A. van Dijk; Répertoire des Traités et des Engagements Internationaux Concernant les Pays-Bas (1845-1900), by C.J.E. Bosmans & M. Visser; Répertoire des Traités et des Engagements Internationaux du XXe Siècle Concernant les Pays-Bas (1901-1921), by C.J.E. Bosmans & M. Visser.
Citation: depends on the source (mostly Staatsblad: Stb. "year", "nr.")

Verdragen in Voorbereiding (Treaties in Preparation)
This is a quarterly letter of the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs to the Parliament, published as Kamerstuk (parliamentary document) 23 530, which contains a list of treaties, of which the negotiations are not yet concluded.

Tot stand gekomen verdragen, nog niet ter parlementaire goedkeuring voorgelegd
(Treaties concluded, not yet submitted for parliamentary approval)

This annual overview, published by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs at the beginning of each year, contains four lists of treaties already concluded, but not yet submitted to parliament. List I: treaties wich will probably be submitted to parliament within the current year. List II: treaties, which might be submitted to parliament in the long term (due to prior changes in legislation or because the government has not yet decided about the desirability of becoming a party). List III: treaties, of which the government has decided that under the present circumstances it is not desirable to become a party. When these circumstances will change, the negative decision could be reconsidered. List IV: treaties, of which the government has definitively decided that it is not desirable to become a party.

1.1.2.2. United States

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States
Edited by C.I. Bevans
Period: 1776-1949
Index: General Index (alphabetical list of countries and subjects)
Citation: "vol." Bevans "page nr."

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements
Period: 1950- … (from 1982-2000 on microfiche)
Index: United States Treaty Index, edited by Kavass. The USTI covers the period 1776-1990 and contains numerical, chronological, country, subject and geographical subject indexes. From 1990 the Current Treaty Index is available as a quarterly supplement to the USTI. In addition the Department of State publishes an annual list of Treaties in Force.
Citation: TIAS "nr." When a new treaty does not yet have a TIAS number, the editor assigns to it a temporary KAV number, which can be used until the TIAS number is assigned.

1.1.2.3. Australian Treaty Series
The Australian Treaty Series is the first complete national treaty series available on the internet.
Period: 1901-…
Index: search engine
Citation: ATS "year + nr."

1.1.2.4. British and Foreign State Papers
Treaties and documents of Great Britain and other countries.
Period: 1812-1964
Index: Index of British Treaties (1101-1988), edited by Parry, Hopkins, Harris and Shepherd. In addition, each volume has its own chronological and alphabetical (parties and subjects) indexes.
Citation: "vol." BFSP "page nr."
In addition see the Treaties website of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1.1.2.5. Recueil des Traités et Accords de la France
Period: 1958-…
Index: each volume contains country, chronological and subject indexes
Citation: "year" RTAF "page nr."

1.1.2.6. Germany

Bundesgesetzblatt part II
Period: 1951-…
Index: 1 index for 1951-1990 plus annual indexes (subjects and countries). In addition the Fundstellennachweis B gives an annual overview of treaties in force.
Citation: BGBl "year, part, page nr." (e.g. BGBl 1970 II 713)

Verträge der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Serie A: multilateral treaties
Period: 1949-1979
Index: chronological index in each vol. and separate chronological and subject indices for complete series.
Citation: VBD A "nr."


1.1.3. Other Collections


1.1.3.1. European Treaty Series
Collection of treaties, concluded within the Council of Europe. In addition to the paper edition the European Treaty Series is available on the CoE’s internet site.
Period: 1949-…
Index: blue ringbinder Conventions and Agreements (numerical and subject indexes) and on the a.m. internet site.
Citation: ETS "nr."

1.1.3.2. European Union
EURLEX Treaties
For agreements between the European Community and third countries see the database of the Agreements Office

1.1.3.3. Inter-American Treaties within the Framework of the OAS
At the website of the Organisation of American States see Documents > Treaties - Conventions.

1.1.3.4. Other International Organizations, Treaty Secretariats and NGO’s
A number of other international organizations publish treaties, concluded within the framework of the respective organizations, on their websites. See also the websites of several treaty secretariats, NGO’s and other institutions .

1.1.3.5. International Legal Materials
In ILM texts of recent important treaties are published, including treaties that have not yet entered into force.
Period: 1962-…
Index: annual indexes. In addition, you can search the ASILEX database, which contains the tables of contents of ILM from 1990-present.
Citation: "vol." ILM "page nr." It is important however to note that when a treaty is finally published in an official treaty series you have to cite the treaty series as primary source instead of ILM.

In addition to the above mentioned series the Law Library possesses a number of other general, national and subject-based treaty series (e.g. air law, space law, law of the sea, transport, humanitarian law, private international law etc.). See section JB-VOL: Z30 as well as the relevant sections in the book collection.
Several treaty indices, in addition to those mentioned above, can be found in section JB-VOL: Z10.


1.2. Ratifications, Reservations, Declarations


Where to find an overview of ratifications, reservations and declarations of a multilateral treaty depends on which country or international organization is the depositary. The depositary is indicated in the final provisions of each treaty. For multilateral treaties deposited with the secretary-general of the UN, the information can be found at the UN’s Treaty Collection website. A number of other international organisations, treaty secretariats and national ministries of foreign affairs also present information on their websites. For information about ratifications of human rights treaties see the RATIF-database of the SIM Documentation Centre.
As far as the Netherlands is a party to a treaty, all information about ratifications, reservations and declarations of the parties can be found in the Tractatenblad (see above, section 1.1.2.1.). In the Treaty Database, published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you can find the consolidated information on ratifications of treaties published in the Tractatenblad since 1961. In addition, the news section and the "Maandberichten" give an overview of the latest treaty-related developments relevant to the Netherlands. The reservations and declarations by the Netherlands itself can also be found in the Goedkeuringswet, which is published in the Staatsblad. The location can be found by searching the cd-rom Register Officiële Publicaties (1977-1995) or in Overheid.nl (1995-). See moreover the Verdragenbibliotheek database, which contains up-to-date lists of ratifications for several hundreds of treaties, to which the Netherlands is a party.


1.3. Travaux Préparatoires / Commentaries


For each treaty preparatory documents exist. Of only a limited number of treaties, however, these documents are published. The Law Library possesses several of these publications (i.a. UN Charter, Refugee Convention, European Convention on Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Law of Treaties, ICCPR, Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, Unidroit conventions). In addition, some treaty secretariats publish preparatory (and implementation) documents on their internet site.
When a treaty has been concluded within the framework of an international organization, you should also check the website of that organization. When the International Law Commission has been involved in drafting a convention, you can find reports on the preparatory work in the ILC's Yearbook and on its website. A very helpful guide is the 3-volume publication The International Law Commission, 1949-1998, by Arthur Watts. Finally, it is important to do background reading in secondary sources (monographs, journal articles, case law). These could contain references to a treaty's travaux préparatoires.

Commentaries are authoritative explanations of treaty provisions. For example the Commentary on the Geneva Conventions by Jean Pictet has been published by the ICRC and is also available on the ICRC’s internet site.
The General Comments of the respective treaty bodies on the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture are available in the case law databases of the SIM Documentation Centre.
Other commentaries available in the Law Library deal inter alia with the UN Charter (Simma, 1994), the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Denza, 1998), the Chemical Weapons Convention (Krutzsch, 1994), the European Patent Convention (Singer, 1995), the UNCLOS (Nordquist et al., 1991), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Detrick, 1999), and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Triffterer, 1999).
In addition it can be useful to see how national governments and parliaments interpret treaty provisions. For the Netherlands these interpretations can be found in the Memorie van Toelichting bij de Goedkeuringswet (explanatory memorandum for the bill of approval) and the Handelingen Eerste en Tweede Kamer (minutes of the parliamentary sessions). References to these can be found in the notification of the Dutch ratification, which is published in the Tractatenblad. You can also find the references by searching the cd-rom Register Officiële Publicaties (1977-1995) or in Overheid.nl (1995-).