international conventions

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International conventions are treaties or agreements between countries. "International convention" is often used interchangeably with terms like "international treaty," "international agreement," "compact," or "contract between states." 

 Conventions may be of a general or specific nature and between two or multiple states.  Conventions between two states are called bilateral treaties; conventions between a small number of states (but more than two) are called plurilateral treaties; conventions between a large number of states are called multilateral treaties.

Bilateral Investment Treaties

A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is a common type of international convention. A BIT is an international agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in another state.

Binding Nature

In Medellin v. Texas, 552 U.S. 491 (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court held that even if the United States signs and agrees to be bound by an international convention, the convention is not actually binding law unless it is self-executing, or unless Congress passes legislation making the convention binding.

Further Reading

For more on international conventions, see this Harvard Law Review article, this Berkeley Law Research Guide, and this UCLA Law Review article