Germán Cavelier is very likely Colombia’s leading authority on international law. He has also published extensively on his country’s diplomatic history. In this regard, specialists will recall his legalistically oriented four-volume La política internacional de Colombia (Bogotá, 1959), still an indispensable point of departure, as well as his more recent Memoria histórico-jurídica sobre el asunto de Los Monjes (Bogotá, 1977).
The present work is a textbook of Colombian international experience and norms structured around the treaties (now more than 550) negotiated by that republic since 1821. The work is probably the first of its kind done in Colombia. It is organized into thirteen chapters (called títulos), each, in turn, subdivided into a number of sections (called capítulos). In the first chapter, the constitutional genesis of the treaty-making power is expounded; in the second, the nature of the treaty-making is explained; in the third, the powers of the Colombian president in treaty-making are detailed. The fourth chapter treats the ratification process by the Congress, and the fifth discusses the executive’s powers insofar as treaty sanctioning and ratification are concerned. The next chapter (the sixth) examines the promulgation, publication, and registration of treaties. In the seventh, their abrogation is investigated, as is their duration in the eighth. International administrative contracts are analyzed as to their legality in the ninth chapter, as are executive covenants in the tenth. The eleventh deals with multinational treaties, such as those of the Latin American Free Trade Association and the Andean Pact. The following chapter considers the constitutional, as well as the international, legal implications of the Andean Pact. The thirteenth and final chapter discusses the various constitutional reforms proposed in Colombia since 1966 and their effect on the treaty approbation processes.
El régimen jurídico is blessed (pp. 547-557) with a well-chosen bibliography, as well as with (pp. 559-581) topical and subject indexes.
To repeat, although this is intrinsically a textbook, it is a sophisticated one. Thus, historians, political scientists, and foreign service personnel will find it a convenient vade mecum to Colombian treaties, their national and international legal implications, and to the heavily French-inspired Colombian diplomatic doctrine.
In fine, Cavelier has produced a book whose utility is matched only by its high degree of professional competence. Colombianists concerned with its subject must remain in his debt.