Introduction and Background
            A treaty may be defined as an agreement where by two or more states establish or seek to establish a relationship between themselves governed by international law. The two key words here are agreement and international law. Other actors in the international system, besides states, may also enter into treaty agreements. Treaty is the main instrument which the international community possesses for the purpose of initiating a developing international co-operation. A treaty may also be known as international agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, exchange of letter, etc.

            Treaties can be compared to contract because both acts as means through which willing parties enter into obligations among themselves and any parties that fails to live up to its obligations as contained therein may be held liable under international law. In domestic law, the private citizen has a large variety of instruments from which to choose for executing some legal acts or for attesting to a transaction. At the international level, the treaty is responsible for almost every king of legal interaction between states and other non-state actors.
            The central principle underlying the legality or sanctity of treaties is expressed by the axiom “Pacta suit servada” meaning that pacts are “mutually binding agreements” which must be respected” by the parties to it. The Vienna convention on the law of treaties. The convention has been ratified by 110 countries as at 2009 though states that have not ratified it may still recognise it as a biding force in as much as if is a restatement of customary law.     

Parties to Treaties
            Generally only sovereign states/entities which fulfil the traditional requirements of statehood as stipulated by international law are allowed to enter into treaties with each other. However, developments in the modern era has made this provision much more elastic, such that other participants and actors in the international system are now recognised as having the requisite legal personality to enter into legitimate agreement with one another. At present, the following are recognised by international law as having the ability to enter into treaties and covenants.
(a)       independent states
(b)       International organisational
(c)       International institutions
(d)       Multinational corporations
(e)       Government department/ agencies 

Bilateral and muti lateral Treaties
            A bilateral treaty is a treaty between only two parties or states. Such treaty establishes legal rights and obligations between those two parties/states only. A bilateral treaty however may exist between more than two states. This may happen when a number of states  are acting in concert, ie. Acting together as one single entity. A treaty between the US and the EU, for instance, is a bilateral treaty because the EU here is represented as a single political block and not a number of states. The parties to such treaty we only two – the US on one hand and the EU and its member states on the other. If there is a disagreement between the EU members, this is resolved as an in house affair. In the open, the position on the EU countries must remain the same.
            A multilateral treaty on the other hand has several parties responding to it or agreeing to it. If establishes rights and obligations between each party and every other participating member state. Multilateral treaties are often open to states which may not have participated at the initial stage. Such new comers are admitted if they accept the terms of the treaty and sign up accordingly. Some multilateral treaties may however restrict admission to the original signatories only. Most multilateral treaties are regional in nature through others could be universal.

Forms of Concluding Treaties
1.         Heads of state forum: In this instance, the treaty is drafted as an agreement between the sovereigns or Heads of state and government during top level summits. Here, the obligations are expressed to bind them as high constricting parties” carrying the absolute authority of their states. This form of concluding treaty is not frequently used, is reserved for special cases of conventions and more solemn kinds of treaties.
2.         Inter-governmental form: The treaty is drafted as an agreement between two or more governments. The difference here is that professionals or diplomats are involved in intense negotiations until the details of the agreement are reached. The governments involved may give their representatives and negotiators a free hand to make decisions or shifts ground or may demand constant consultation with every aspect of the negotiations. Democracies are more likely to allow their representatives a free rein than authoritarian regimes.
3.         Inter-state forum:  Here, the treaty is drafted expressly of impliedly as an agreement between more than two states. The process follows virtually the same degree as described in no 20 above. A good example of interstate treaty is the North Atlantic Treaty organisation signed on April 4th, 1949. the aim was to pull together the security resources of North America and western Europe.
4.         Ministerial Forum:  A treaty may be negotiated and signed between the ministers of the respective countries concerned. Generally, these might be the foreign ministers of those countries acting with the authority and support of their home governments. The summit of foreign ministers to take decisions on issues of common interest has been generally accepted as a genuine process of international in the modern era.

Processes of contracting Treaties
            A treaty may be an interdepartmental agreement concluded between representatives of particular government departments and agencies. Such agreement are often for technical and non-political matters. And example is and agreement between the representatives of respective customs administrations of the countries concerned. The US drug enforcement Agency (USDEA) has a long standing agreement with Nigeria’s Drug Law Enforcement agency.(NDLEA)
6.7       Interpretation of Treaties
6.8       Invalidation of Treaties
6.9       Termination of Treaties
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