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The Constitutive Treaties Repository

Constitutive treaties occupy a special place among the various key instruments relating to the international organizations accounted for in Oxford International Organizations or ‘OXIO’. Indeed, the vast majority of international organizations have been brought into being by virtue of the conclusion of a treaty. Such treaties are the very foundational documents of international organizations, performing an existential function for these organizations and the law they generate. This is why, with the support of Oxford University Press, we have decided to create, alongside the general OXIO database, a separate repository specifically dedicated to constitutive treaties. Following in the footsteps of the 1970s’ Constitutions of the Countries of the World project, the Constitutive Treaties Repository, or ‘CTR’, offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of constitutive treaties of international organizations with a view to bringing together and unlocking the rich variety of constitutive treaties of no less than 250 international intergovernmental organizations. This is the first time that the founding treaties of all main international intergovernmental organizations can be accessed in one place, bringing new possibilities for the study and scrutiny of differences and similarities. This consolidated catalogue of constitutive treaties is meant to serve the interest of practitioners, legal advisers, scholars, and students.

Whilst the general OXIO database takes a broad approach, including commentaries not only to instruments creating organizations, but also to decisions and resolutions of organizations, and to treaties and court decisions about organizations, the CTR espouses a more restrictive perspective. In fact, it proceeds from the classic legal instrument for the creation of an international intergovernmental organization: the treaty. As the repository only includes international organizations that have been created by treaty, it is exclusive of organizations created by institutional ‘decisions’ or other non-treaty instruments. Likewise, the various ‘treaty bodies’ created by a separate treaty, but subsequently incorporated as organs within an organization—notably the UN human rights monitoring committees—are not included in the repository.

The CTR provides links to full-text versions of the constitutive treaties of the international organizations concerned, and is regularly updated. The entries are also linked to the OUP Citator and, once a constitutive treaty has been annotated in a specific headnote, to OXIO as well.