Peace Treaties and the Formation of International Law

Randall Lesaffer

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Peace Treaties and the Formation of International Law


This chapter suggests that early modern Europe developed a particular kind of peace treaty practice and law which was premised on the sovereign State in three ways. First, the sovereign State monopolized the right to make peace treaties. Second, a formal concept of war was introduced that excluded all notions of justice and discrimination on the basis of justice in the waging of war (ius in bello) and the making of peace (ius post bellum). Third, the collapse of supra-state authorities gave consent through treaty a central role in the articulation of general as well as particular laws of nations. Peace treaties naturally were most relevant to the development of the ius post bellum. The 20th century saw the relative demise of the sovereign State in international law, and changed the law and practice of peacemaking.

Keywords: peace treaty practice; early modern Europe; sovereign State; waging war; peacemaking; supra-state authorities

Article.  12502 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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