The Determination of Priority Between Conflicting Treaty Obligations

Publication Date : 05/04/2021

Author(s) :

Faith Rimamchatin.

Volume/Issue :
Volume 2
Issue 1
(04 - 2021)

Abstract :

When parties enter into a treaty, they receive rights and interest and in turn create obligations which they are bound to perform. Most states do not enter just one treaty but multiple treaties, what happens when a state’s obligation in a particular treaty conflicts with another obligation contained in a different treaty? How is the choice made on which obligation should be given priority? What is the yardstick for deciding hierarchy? To answer these questions, the writer will take a critical look at what treaties are, why they are formed, what rules are used to decide priority in case of conflict, where they are applied and their inadequacies. This work will be divided into five parts, Part I introduces the topic by defining what treaties are, and Part II will explain the foundations of international law. In Part III conflicting treaties and the provision of the VCLT and other rules and principles of international law in resolving these conflicts as well as their shortcomings are analyzed; the lex posterior, lex prior and lex specialis rules are discussed in detail, the writer will also discuss where they are applicable and also where they are not. Part IV will explain the role of the court in resolving conflicting treaty based obligations and the method they may employ and Part V will be the conclusion.

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