The impact of armed conflict on the effects of international treaties

Keywords: application of an international treaty, armed conflict, violation of a treaty by one of the parties, impossibility of execution, fundamental change of circumstances, termination and suspension of the international treaty


In the science of international law, different views are expressed on the nature of the impact of war on international treaties.

It should also be noted that there is no strict consistency on this issue and in the practice of international relations. This was one of the reasons for the lack of relevant provisions in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Some definite understanding of the content of existing customary norms and trends in the progressive development of international law is given by the Articles of the United Nations Commission on International Law on the Consequences of Armed Conflicts for International Treaties.

The basic principle enshrined in the Articles is that the existence of an armed conflict ipso facto does not terminate or suspend treaties between States Parties to that conflict or between a State Party to an armed conflict and a State which is not a Party to it. This principle is intended to promote the stability of international relations.

The following factors should be considered when deciding whether to terminate, withdraw from, or suspend an armed conflict in the event of an armed conflict:

  1. a) the nature of the contract - in particular its subject, object and purpose, its content and the number of parties to the contract;

(b) The characteristics of an armed conflict, such as its territorial distribution, scale and intensity, its duration and, in the case of a non-international armed conflict, also the degree of external involvement.

The developers of the Articles have tried to provide an indicative (and therefore inexhaustible) list of types of contracts, the subject of which is to extend their validity. The categories of contracts included in the indicative list caused a great deal of disagreement.

The intention to terminate the treaty shall be communicated to the other States Parties or the depository of the treaty. The termination or suspension of a treaty as a result of an armed conflict in no way affects the obligation of the State to fulfill the obligations enshrined in the treaty, which also exist in accordance with international law, regardless of this treaty.

Following the termination of an armed conflict, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the suspension of the suspended agreements may take place with the agreement of the States concerned.

Obviously, customary international law has developed a set of rules regarding the impact of armed conflict on treaties. Armed conflict in modern international law ipso facto does not terminate or suspend existing treaties, even though a number of them may be terminated or suspended in view of their nature. In this regard, it can be said that the regulation of treaties in the event of armed conflict aims at the maximum possible preservation of legal relations between the states.


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How to Cite
Tienieshev, V. (2020). The impact of armed conflict on the effects of international treaties. Law Review of Kyiv University of Law, (1), 396-400.
The legal system of Ukraine and international law, comparative legal studies