What is Treaty?

     A treaty is an agreement or contract entered into between two or more states whereby they undertake to carry out obligations imposed on each of them. According to Oppenheim, " International Treaties are agreements of a contractual character, between States or Organizations of States creating legal Rights and obligations between the parties"   International treaties are Important Source of International Law.

General Principles of Interpretation of International Treaties

Following are the general principles of Interpretation of International Treaties

  1) Grammatical Interpretation 

                   In the first Instance, the words and phrases are considered according to their plain and natural meaning. This is called the grammatical interpretation of a treaty.

  2) Object and Context of the Treaty

                   In the case of words and phrases are ambiguous they are considered keeping in view the general object and context of the treaty.

  3) Reasonableness and Consistency 

                    Treaties are generally interpreted so as to give the reasonable and consistent meaning of the phrases and words.


  4) Principle of Effectiveness

                    Treaties are interpreted in such a way as may appear to be most effective and useful.

  5) Recourse ton Extrinsic material 

                    According to Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law treaties 1969, a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the term of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object of its and proposes." Thus in some cases, recourse may be had to the extrinsic material, although ordinarily the treaties are interpreted on the basis of the words and phrases that have been used in the treaties.


See also

Grounds of Invalid Treaties 

Meaning, Definition, and Types of International Treaties     

Termination of Treaties by Mutual Consent



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