The Budapest memorandum and the Istanbul document are two important documents thought to guarantee security & stability in the regions of the former Soviet Union. 1

The Instanbul documents states:

"We reaffirm the inherent right of each and every participating State to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve. "

I have heard that the Instanbul document is a declaration of intent, not a treaty. What is the legal character of this document? Is it legally binding? If yes has Russia retreated from that agreement?

Istanbul document

  • A little more context would be helpful.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 19:41
  • 1
    Updated the question Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


This is what is usually called a declaration (that the Instanbul Document is sometimes called a declaration of intent has no legal significance). Declarations are not binding in the way that treaties are. They don't independently create obligations to the world. But they can play a role in establishing or reflecting customary international law; can provide evidence of opinio juris; and domestic legal systems can look to them in applying a presumption of conformity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are two other declarations. They both happen to reflect a lot of customary international law: much of the content is binding even though it also appears in these declarations.

  • Is there a difference between a declaration and a declaration of intent? Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 10:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .