International Settlement of
Disputes (political)
Article 2(3) of U.N. Charter – All members shall settle their
international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner
that international peace and security and justice are not
1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law
Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States
– States shall accordingly seek early and just settlement of
their international disputes by negotiation, inquiry, mediation,
conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional
agencies or arrangements or other peaceful means of their
Diplomatic methods of settlement
• Negotiation -> discussion between interested
parties to reconcile divergent opinions
– Direct engagement, doesn’t require a 3rd party
– Simple and most utilized between friendly states
– Usually a precursor to other settlement procedures
• Good offices and mediation -> Involves 3rd party
to promote a settlement
– The 3rd party only acts as a mediator, but the solution
comes from the parties themselves
– Example: Egypt and Israeli over Sinai Peninsula
Diplomatic methods of settlement
• Inquiry -> Whereas there are differences of opinions
regarding factual matters, the parties may request to
institute a commission of inquiry by reputable
observers to determine the facts in contention
– Example: Dogger Bank incident of 1904 – Russia vs. U.K
– Inquiry is also popular in the U.N.
• Conciliation -> Involves a 3rd party investigation to the
basis of the dispute and a report submitted with
suggestions for a settlement
– Combination of inquiry and mediation
– Conciliation reports are merely proposals and are not
binding -> different than arbitration
– Example: Iceland-Norway dispute over continental Shelf
delimitation between Iceland and Jan Mayen Island
Settlement within the framework of
the United Nations
• U.N Charter based on terms of the Covenant of the League of
• Security Council of the U.N intended to function as the
executive, with the General Assembly as the parliamentary
– Both contribute to the peaceful settlement of disputes but only the
Security Council could adopt binding decisions through Ch. VII
• Role of Security Council: Maintain International peace and
– Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the
establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of
military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations
Security Council resolutions
– There are 15 members of the Security Council. This includes five vetowielding permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United
Kingdom, and the United States
Security Council
• Ch. VI – Pacific Settlement of Disputes - the Security
Council "may investigate any dispute, or any
situation which might lead to international friction
or give rise to a dispute“ – Non-binding
• Ch. VII - the Security Council has more power to
decide what measures are to be taken in situations
involving "threats to the peace, breaches of the
peace, or acts of aggression".
– includes the use of armed force. This was the legal basis
for UN armed action in Korea in 1950 during the Korean
War and the use of coalition forces in Iraq and Kuwait in
1991 and Libya in 2011.
– Decisions in Ch. VII are binding upon UN Members
General Assembly
• May discuss any question or matter within the scope of
the Charter, including the maintenance of international
peace and security, and may make recommendations
to the members of the U.N or the SC –> non-binding
• “Uniting for Peace”, General Assembly Resolution 377
(1950) - where the Security Council, because of a lack
of unanimity amongst its five permanent members,
fails to act as required to maintain international peace
and security, the General Assembly shall consider the
matter immediately and may issue any
recommendations it deems necessary in order to
restore international peace and security.
– With a 2/3rds vote in the General Assembly, they can override a Security Council Veto
Secretary General of the U.N
• Head of the U.N Secretariat, as well as de-facto
spokesperson and leader of the U.N
• The Secretary-General has the right to place any
dispute on the provisional agenda of the Security
Council – Palestine 2011
• Art. 99 of U.N. Charter – he is entitled to bring to the
attention of the SC any matter which he thinks may
threaten the maintenance of international peace and
• Secretaries-General have acted independently of the
SC and GA as good offices role in situations. Also has
acted upon the invitation of the parties themselves
International Institutions and dispute
• Regional organizations:
– The African Union (Organization of African Unity)
• Art. 19 = principle of ‘the peaceful settlement of disputes by
negotiation, mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.’
– The Organization of American States (OAS)
• Art. 23 = international disputes between member states must be
submitted to the Organization for peaceful settlement.
– The Arab League
• Facilities for peaceful settlement of disputes are not well developed,
and informal conciliation attempts are often utilized.
– The Council of Europe
• Adopted the European Convention for the Peaceful Settlement of
• Legal disputes are to be sent to the ICJ, while other disputes are to go
to arbitration, unless the parties have agreed to accept conciliation
• International Organizations
• Where diplomacy has failed, arbitration is arguably the
most effective and equitable manner of dispute settlement
• Unlike litigation, arbitration usually takes place out of court.
• The two sides select an impartial third party, known as an
arbitrator; agree in advance to comply with the arbitrator's
award; and then participate in a hearing at which both
sides can present evidence and testimony
• Parties generally chose the arbitration method because of
its flexibility, shortness, and because the parties have more
• Also the appropriate mechanism to utilize between states
and international institutions, since only states may appear
before the ICJ
• Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) or special Tribunals
such as the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal (IUSCT)

International Settlement of Disputes (non-judicial)