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GW Law Library
Research Guides

International Law Research Resources

A research guide to selected sources in public international law available at the Burns Law Library.

Introduction

Article 2(a) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties defines a treaty as an international agreement “governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation.”

Treaty research is essentially a three step process:

  1. Identifying the relevant treaty(ies) for a particular international law question;
     
  2. Verifying the status of the United States (or some other nation) as a party;
     
  3. Locating an official or non-official source containing the text of the treaty in question (and in the case of a multilateral treaty, the relevant reservations, understandings, and declarations).

Selected Works on Treaty Law and Practice

Works on the Treaty Practice of Individual States

Databases for Locating Treaty Texts

Official Sources for U.S. Treaties

Bluebook Rule 21.4.5(a) (i) and (ii) requires that you cite to one of the following official U.S. treaty sources (in order of preference). If the agreement has not appeared in one of these official sources, cite an unofficial source (see boxes below).

Other Sources for Treaty Texts

According to Bluebook rule 21.4.5(b), for agreements to which the United States is not a party, cite one source published by an international organization, if therein. If not, cite the official source of one signatory, if therein. If the treaty is not found in a signatory's treaty source, cite an unofficial treaty source.

Other Unofficial Treaty Compilations

The following are unofficial treaty compilations that provide access to the texts of treaties, both historical and current.