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Interpretation Of Treaties Authenticated In Two Or More Languages

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Chapter Summary

International law was confronted with the manner and means of interpreting plurilingual treaties - international instruments. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Article 33 provide rules of interpretation, which aim at resolving discrepancies. In respect of the various authenticated languages, the text is equally authoritative in each language. The authoritative texts are those, which will primarily be taken into consideration when interpreting a plurilingual treaty. The parties' agreement is a wider notion and covers any contractual instrument, in particular also agreements not in written form. The terms of the treaty are presumed to have the same meaning in each authentic text. Article 33 is viewed as reflecting a rule of customary international law. In practice, many treaties (including the Convention) have been translated on a professional basis by expert linguistic services, and it is often difficult to find any serious discrepancies between the different texts.

Keywords: Article 33; international law; interpretation; languages; treaties



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