Jus tractatuum

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Jus tractatuum (or sometimes jus tractandi) is a Legal Latin term commonly used in public international law and constitutional law that refers to the right to conclude treaties. It is usually referred to in English as treaty-making power. As defined in article 6 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, every state possesses the capacity to conclude treaties. International organizations as well as subnational entities of federal states may have treaty-making power as well. Jus tractatuum is linked to the concept of international legal personality.

International organizations[edit]

International organizations commonly have power to conclude treaties as well. A notable example is the European Union, which has concluded a number of free trade agreements. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations aims to be an extension to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and deals with treaties between one or more states and one or more international organizations and between international organizations. However, this Vienna Convention is not yet into force as of 2013 due to a lack of ratifications.

Federal states[edit]

Federated states, as part of a federal (sovereign) state, usually do not have the power to conclude treaties. Whether or not federal entities have treaty-making power is based on the federal constitution. For example, the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution explicitly forbids U.S. states to conclude treaties. The constitution of Mexico[1] also prohibits its states to make treaties. On the other hand, Belgium for example grants its communities and regions the power to make treaties.[2] The Länder of Germany and Austria and the cantons of Switzerland are also allowed to make treaties in their respective competencies.


  1. ^ Article 117 (I) of the Constitution of Mexico
  2. ^ Article 167 of the Constitution of Belgium

See also[edit]