Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties

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The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (WÜRV) of 23 May 1969 (also: Vienna Convention (Vienna Convention, VCLT) , . English Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) ) governs the law of treaties between States . It is therefore a fundamental international treaty .


Following two resolutions of the UN General Assembly , the United Nations Conference on the Law of Treaties met twice, in 1968 and 1969, in Vienna in the new Hofburg to discuss the text of the treaty. In its final version, it was adopted in 1969 and released for signature. The original of the final document is stored in the archive of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Austria . The treaty entered into force on January 27, 1980, after Togo became the 35th signatory state.


It applies to all states that have acceded to it ; As of January 11, 2018, there are 116 contracting states. Significant states such as the USA or France have not joined either. For Germany , the convention has been in force since August 20, 1987. It only applies to treaties that were concluded by states after their accession. However, since the convention has largely only codified existing customary international law, most of its provisions can also be applied to treaties that were concluded without the participating states having acceded to it.

The legal dogmatic weakness of the WÜRV is that it is only a contract itself and therefore does not rank higher than the contracts to which its regulations are to apply. Theoretically, it would be possible that a contract to be concluded expressly deviates from the provisions of the WÜRV.


The content of the regulation includes the right to conclude and enter into force of intergovernmental agreements. This includes regulations on who can effectively represent a state in Article 7 and how a state can consent to a treaty in Article 11.The regulation in Article 18 is significant that a state that signals its accession to a treaty by signing it, but has not yet ratified it, is obliged to refrain from anything that would thwart the aim and purpose of the contract ( prohibition of frustration ). In addition, Article 53 provides that contracts which, when concluded, contravene an overriding norm of universal international law ( ius cogens ) are null and void .


States may, under specified conditions, express reservations against parts of a contract, provided that the other contracting parties allow this, then these provisions of the contract apply to the state making the reservation only within the scope of this reservation. Silence is considered an acceptance. In the event of a protest, the relevant provision will not be applied. A state can also introduce a protest excluding the effect of the contract. According to Article 19, a reservation may only be made if the treaty does not prohibit it or the treaty does not provide “that only certain reservations may be made that do not include the reservation in question”, or in other cases “the reservation with The aim and purpose of the contract are incompatible ”. Furthermore, compliance, application and interpretation of contracts are regulated. The general legal principle pacta sunt servanda is also laid down. The rules of interpretation also largely correspond to the general rules that also apply in national law. In contrast to national law, however, international treaty law can be overlaid and thus changed by customary law .

Contracting parties

Contracting states
(dark green: ratified; light green: only signed)

By January 2015, 112 UN member states as well as the Holy See and the State of Palestine had ratified the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:

The following states signed the treaty but did not ratify it:


  • BGBl . 1985 II, p. 927 ff. (Sartorius II, No. 320)
  • UNTS Vol. 1155 p. 331

Related agreements

The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations of 1986 is very similar to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, but extends it with regard to the legal status of international organizations . As 35 states have to ratify it (as of 2018: 43 ratifications, 31 of which by states), it has not yet come into force.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In: United Nations Treaty Collection. United Nations, accessed May 16, 2019 .
  2. ^ Markus Krajewski: International Economic Law. 3rd edition, CF Müller, Heidelberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8114-9666-8 , Rn. 75.
  3. Art. 7 VVK
  4. Art. 11 WVK
  5. Art. 18 WVK
  6. Art. 53 WVK
  7. Art. 19 VVK

Web links