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World Court Digest

I. Substantive International Law - First Part
7.2. Treatymaking Capacity

¤ Maritime Delimitation and Territorial
Questions between Qatar and Bahrain,
Jurisdiction and Admissibility,
Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1995, p. 6

[p. 46 D.O. Oda] 15. Whether the adoption by the participants of the minutes of a multilateral meeting can constitute an international agreement on the part of one participating State in its relations with any other participating State may well be arguable.
In fact, while the three Foreign Ministers, in attestation of the agreement reached, did sign the Minutes of the meeting (i.e., the agreed record of the discussion that had taken place during that tripartite meeting), in my view, they certainly did so without the slightest idea that they were signing a tripartite treaty or convention. It is clear from the statement made by the Foreign Minister of Bahrain on 21 May 1992 and subsequently presented to the Court, that at least the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain never thought that he was signing an international agreement (Counter-Memorial of Bahrain, Ann. I.25).
Given what we know of "the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion" which, according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Art. 32) are to be used as supplementary means of interpretation of a treaty, and given the way in which those "circumstances" are reflected in the statement made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, these Minutes cannot be interpreted as falling within the category of "treaties and conventions in force" which specially provide for certain matters to be referred to the Court for a decision by means of a unilateral application under Article 36, paragraph l, of the Statute.