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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A labyrinth of tautology: the meaning of the term 'international agreement' and its significance for South African law and treaty making practice
Author:Schneeberger, JoAnnISNI
Periodical:South African Yearbook of International Law
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:international law
international agreements
Abstract:The terms 'international agreement' generally, and 'formal' and 'informal' agreements specifically, continue to bear a variety of meanings and a myriad of consequences. The continuing relevance of this question has particular practical significance for international law as practised and applied in South Africa in that section 231 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which governs the conclusion of international agreements by the State, specifically refers to 'international agreements', but does not define the term. The author considers the case of Harksen v the President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, in which Harksen's attorneys used an innovative argument for the interpretation of the term 'international agreement' to challenge extradition proceedings instituted against Harksen at Germany's request. The author shows that there is a role in international law for informal international agreements, and this role can be accommodated equally effectively in South African domestic law as it relates to international agreements. In this regard the 'Harksen' cases are most useful, not only in giving clarity on the terminology used in the Constitution, but also in demonstrating how relevant and important the informal/formal agreement debate is. Notes, ref.