||Registration, in the context of treaty law and practice, refers to the function of the Secretariat of the United Nations in effecting the registration of treaties and international agreements under Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations (see section 5).
||A reservation is a statement made by a State by which it purports to exclude or alter the legal effect of certain provisions of a treaty in their application to that State. A reservation may enable a State to participate in a multilateral treaty that it would otherwise be unable or unwilling to participate in. States can make reservations to a treaty when they sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to it. When a State makes a reservation upon signing, it must confirm the reservation upon ratification, acceptance or approval. Since a reservation purports to modify the legal obligations of a State, it must be signed by the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister for Foreign Affairs (see annex 6). Reservations cannot be contrary to the object and purpose of the treaty. Some treaties prohibit reservations or only permit specified reservations. See articles 2(1)(d) and 19-23 of the Vienna Convention 1969.
||Revision/review basically means amendment. However, some treaties provide for revisions/reviews separately from amendments (see, e.g., Article 109 of the Charter of the United Nations). In that case, revision/ review typically refers to an overriding adaptation of a treaty to changed circumstances, whereas the term amendment refers to changes to specific provisions.
||definitive signature (signature not subject to ratification)
Definitive signature occurs where a State expresses its consent to be bound by a treaty by signing the treaty without the need for ratification, acceptance or approval. A State may definitively sign a treaty only when the treaty so permits. A number of treaties deposited with the Secretary-General permit definitive signature. See article 12 of the Vienna Convention 1969.
simple signature (signature subject to ratification)
Simple signature applies to most multilateral treaties. This means that when a State signs the treaty, the signature is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. The State has not expressed its consent to be bound by the treaty until it ratifies, accepts or approves it. In that case, a State that signs a treaty is obliged to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty. Signature alone does not impose on the State obligations under the treaty. See articles 14 and 18 of the Vienna Convention 1969.
||Treaty is a generic term embracing all instruments binding under international law, regardless of their formal designation, concluded between two or more international juridical persons. Thus, treaties may be concluded between:
7. International organizations with treaty-making capacity and States; or
8. International organizations with treaty-making capacity.
The application of the term treaty, in the generic sense, signifies that the parties intend to create rights and obligations enforceable under international law.
The Vienna Convention 1969 defines a 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" (article 2(1)(a)). Accordingly, conventions, agreements, protocols, and exchange of letters or notes may all constitute treaties. A treaty must be governed by international law and is normally in written form. Although the Vienna Convention 1969 does not apply to non-written agreements, its definition of a treaty states that the absence of writing does not affect the legal force of international agreements.
No international rules exist as to when an international instrument should be entitled a treaty. However, usually the term treaty is employed for instruments of some gravity and solemnity.
See article 2(1)(a) of the Vienna Convention 1969. See generally Vienna Convention 1969 and Vienna Convention 1986.
A bilateral treaty is a treaty between two parties.
A multilateral treaty is a treaty between more than two parties.