Most countries have rules and procedures set (usually) in their constitution about how to sign and ratify international treaties and what standing they have compared to the laws and the constitution of the country. For instance, in the US a treaty must be ratified by the Senate unless it's an executive-level-only international agreement, and in france a treaty cannot be ratified if the CC declared it contrary to the constitution.

But what are the procedures, in each country, to repeal a treaty or international agreement ? In the US it's pretty clear that Congress has the power to do that with an ordinary law, from what I could see. How does it work in other countries ? I'm mostly asking about France, Germany (since it kinda treats inter-Länder relations as international relations), and other countries are welcome too.

Clarification : I am not asking about what are the international rules for untying oneself from an international treaty (because that would mostly depend on the terms of the treaty itself).


2 Answers 2


Entering and exiting a treaty is a prerogative Crown power.

This means the power is formally in the Crown. But the power to undertake a specific action in relation to a treaty is typically delegated via an Order in Council to a specific member of the executive, typically the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is this person that would sign the treaty, or, in the case of withdrawal, take whatever steps the treaty has required for withdrawal.

Thus, treaty withdrawal is entirely within the power of the executive, with the legislature playing only a consultative role, if at all.


The German Federal Foreign Office is responsible for the termination of international treaties.

Richtlinien für die Behandlung völkerrechtlicher Verträge (RvV)

§40 Vertragsbeendigung, Kündigung
(2) Zuständigkeit
Die Kündigung von Staatsverträgen und Regierungsabkommen obliegt dem Auswärtigen Amt. Adressat einer Kündigung ist in diesen Fällen das Außenministerium der anderen Vertragspartei, nicht deren diplomatische Vertretung in Deutschland.

Ressortabkommen werden vom Fachressort selbst gekündigt. Adressat der Kündigung ist das Fachressort der anderen Vertragspartei.

Adressat einer Kündigung eines mehrseitigen (multilateralen) Vertrags ist der Verwahrer.

Guidelines for dealing with international treaties

§40 Termination of Contract
(2) Jurisdiction
The Federal Foreign Office is responsible for terminating state treaties and intergovernmental agreements. In these cases, the addressee of a notice of termination is the foreign ministry of the other contracting party, not their diplomatic representation in Germany.

Departmental agreements are terminated by the department itself. The addressee of the termination is the specialist department of the other contracting party.

The addressee of a termination of a multilateral (multilateral) contract is the custodian.

Note: The word Vertrag means both contract and treaty.

  • "Staatsverträge und Regierungsabkommen" are the thing the question calls "executive-level-only international agreement". This is not a full answer to the question. It does not deal with "big" treaties.
    – K-HB
    Feb 10, 2023 at 15:56
  • @K-HB No, "Staatsverträge und Regierungsabkommen" are state treaties and intergovernmental agreements. "executive-level-only international agreement" are Ressortabkommen (Departmental agreements). All of them (plus multilateral), taken togeather, are völkerrechtlicher Verträge (international treaties). They are all covered by §40 RvV. Feb 10, 2023 at 16:13
  • You are correct, sorry. The "Richtlinien" use a not so common terminology.
    – K-HB
    Feb 15, 2023 at 21:17

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