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In international law, a depositary is a government or organization to which a multilateral treaty is entrusted.[1] The principal functions of a depositary are codified in Article 77 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.[2]


France's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs serves as the depositary for multilateral treaties such as the Geneva Protocol.[3]

New Zealand

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade serves as the depositary for multilateral treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership.[4]


Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs serves as the depositary for multilateral treaties such as the Biological Weapons Convention, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[5]


Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland serves as the depositary for 78 multilateral treaties including the Geneva Conventions.[6]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently acts as the depositary for documents such as Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, Constitution of UNESCO, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.[7][8] Public copies are supplied by The Stationery Office and the British Library.[8]

United States

The United States Department of State is currently the depositary for more than 200 multilateral treaties, including the Charter of the United Nations, Convention on International Civil Aviation, North Atlantic Treaty, Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, and the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.[9] Generally, the United States executes its responsibilities in accordance with the will of each individual treaty or, in lieu of such provision, as per the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.[9]

United Nations Secretary-General

The United Nations Secretary-General serves as the depositary for numerous multilateral treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[10]


  1. Aust, Anthony (2010-04-30). Handbook of International Law (2 ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 100–102. ISBN 978-0-521-11705-0. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Article 77 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties signed at Vienna on 23 May 1969
  3. "Protocole concernant la prohibition d'emploi à la guerre de gaz asphyxiants, toxiques ou similaires et de moyens bactériologiques, fait à Genève le 17 juin 1925" (in French). Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of France. Retrieved 2013-07-23. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Treaties for which New Zealand is the depositary". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 6 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Перечень многосторонних международных договоров (Российская Федерация является депозитарием)" (in Russian). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Retrieved 2013-07-24. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Depositary". Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland. Retrieved 2013-07-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Treaties for which the UK is depositary". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 2014-02-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Depositary". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2012-01-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Multilateral Treaties for which the United States is Depositary". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-01-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General". United Nations Treaty Series. Retrieved 2013-07-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links