Signature

The act of signing a draft treaty text; may have differing legal effects, depending on the intent of the parties negotiating the treaty text, including authentication or the expression of consent to be bound.

Where a treaty is concluded by signature, signing represents the state’s expression of consent to be bound by the treaty. Where a treaty is subject to ratification, signature expresses the state’s consent to the text and its intent to ratify the treaty later, but not its consent to be bound. A state that has signed a treaty which is subject to ratification is not obliged to ratify it, but must refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.

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