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Resolution of International Disputes: The Role of the Permanent Court of Arbitration – Reflections on the Centenary of the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes

  • TJACO T. VAN DEN HOUT

Abstract

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established at the first Hague Peace Conference in 1899. During the past decade the PCA has progressed from a period of relative inactivity to a previously unsurpassed caseload. In this article the Secretary-General of the PCA reflects on the creation and early development of the PCA, before giving a detailed overview of recent arbitrations conducted under PCA auspices. The first part of this review, concerning treaty-based arbitration, analyses the role of the PCA in the resolution of disputes under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, illustrated by the arbitrations conducted in the Guyana/Suriname, Barbados/Trinidad, Malaysia/Singapore, and Ireland/United Kingdom (MOX Plant) disputes. The second part, which focuses on ad hoc arbitration, outlines the recently concluded arbitrations in the Iron Rhine (Belgium/Netherlands) and Eritrea/Yemen cases, as well as the work of the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission and Claims Commission.

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1 S. Rosenne, The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and International Arbitration: Reports and Documents (2001), xix.

2 See Report to the Conference from the First Commission on the Revision of the Convention of 1899 for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (Annex D to the minutes of the Ninth Plenary Meeting) (hereinafter Annex D), reproduced in Rosenne, supra note 1, at 223 ff. Page numbers hereinafter refer to those in the original text.

3 USA/Mexico, Arbitration Agreement dated 22 May 1902; Award dated 14 October 1902.

4 Great Britain, Germany and Italy/Venezuela, Arbitration Agreement dated 7 May 1903; Award dated 22 February 1904.

5 Germany, Great Britain and France/Japan, Arbitration Agreement dated 28 August 1902; Award dated 22 May 1905.

6 France/Great Britain, Arbitration Agreement dated 13 October 1904; Award dated 8 August 1905.

7 Great Britain and Russia, Inquiry Agreement dated 25 November 1904; Report dated 26 February 1905.

8 France and Italy, Inquiry Agreement dated 20 May 1912; Report dated 23 July 1912. See also the arbitration in ‘Tauvigno’, ‘Camouna’, and ‘Gaulois’, France/Italy, Arbitration Agreement of 8 November 1912. During the proceedings, the parties settled the matter by agreeing that compensation would be payable by the Italian government.

9 Maritime Boundary Norway–Sweden (The Grisbårdana Case), Norway/Sweden, Award of 23 October 1909; North Atlantic Coast Fisheries, Great Britain/USA, Award of 7 September 1910; Orinoco Steamship Company, USA/Venezuela, Award of 25 October 1910; Arrest and Restoration of Savarkar, France/Great Britain, Award of 24 February 1911; Canevaro Claim, Italy/Peru, Award of 3 May 1912; Russian Claim for Indemnities, Russia/Turkey, Award of 11 November 1912; French Postal Vessel ‘Manouba’, France/Italy, Award of 6 May 1913; The ‘Carthage’, France/Italy, Award of 6 May 1913; Dutch–Portuguese Boundaries on the Island of Timor, The Netherlands/Portugal, Award of 25 June 1914.

10 Spain, France and Great Britain/Portugal, Arbitration Agreement dated 31 July 1913; Award dated 2 and 4 September 1920.

11 France/Peru, Arbitration Agreement dated 2 February 1914; Award dated 11 October 1921.

12 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 402–16; Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1907 (hereinafter 1907 Convention), Arts. 10–36.

13 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 425–31; 1907 Convention, supra note 12, Arts. 52–54 and 58.

14 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 439–41; 1907 Convention, supra note 12, Arts. 86–90.

15 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 435–6; 1907 Convention, supra note 12, Arts. 73–74.

16 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 455 ff.

17 See further Report of the Conference from the First Commission recommending the Creation of a Court of Arbitral Justice (Annex A to the minutes of the Ninth Plenary Meeting), reproduced in Rosenne, supra note 1, at 169 ff.

18 See Annex D, supra note 2, at 456.

19 See Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, Art. 36; Statute of the International Court of Justice, Art. 36(2).

20 General Treaty for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy 1928, 94 LNTS 57.

21 S. Rosenne, The Law and Practice of the International Court (2006), II, 702.

22 1907 Convention, supra note 12, Art. 41.

23 See further speeches made at the commemorative session of the Administrative Council of the PCA on 18 October 2007 by Judge G. Guillaume, Professor P. Sands QC, and Professor J. Crawford SC, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

24 Supra note 20.

25 See, e.g., US State Department, Treaties in Force 2007, Section 2: Multilateral Agreements, at 158, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/89668.pdf.

26 Ibid., at 914.

27 1907 Convention, supra note 12, Art. 37, first paragraph.

28 Ibid., Art. 37, second paragraph.

29 Ibid., Art. 81. See also ibid., Art. 83, on requests for revision of the award.

30 Statute of the International Court of Justice, Art. 59. See also Art. 61 on applications for revision of the judgment.

31 Published in (1935) 3 Reports of International Arbitral Awards 1621, (1935) 81 ILR 26, (1936) AJIL 353, (1937) Reports of International Arbitral Awards 197.

32 Award, (1935) 3 Reports of International Arbitral Awards 1621.

33 Ibid., 1624.

34 See, e.g., information on pending PCA cases, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org. At the time of writing, the cases at the PCA include 17 investor-state arbitrations under bilateral or multilateral investment treaties, and seven arbitrations under contracts between private entities and states or state-controlled entities.

35 A. Redfern and M. Hunter (eds.), Law and Practice of International Commercial Arbitration (2004), 70.

37 Accord sur l'encouragement et la protection réciproques des investissements, 2 September 1997, Fr.-India, J.O., 6 May 1999, (2000) 47 Recueil des traités 6791, Art. 9(3).

38 Ibid., Art. 10.

39 Energy Charter Treaty of 17 December 1994, (1995) 34 ILM 360 (hereinafter ECT).

41 ECT, supra note 39, Part V, Art. 27(3)(k).

42 Ibid., Art. 37(3)(d).

43 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, 1833 UNTS 3 (hereinafter UNCLOS).

44 See Consolidated Table of Ratifications, Accessions, etc., published by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, available at http://www.un.org/Depts/los/reference_files/status2007.pdf.

45 UNCLOS, supra note 43, Art. 287(1).

46 For this and the following information, see Table of Declarations and Statements published by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, as updated on 23 October 2007, available at http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_declarations.htm.

47 See S. Rosenne and L. B. Sohn (eds.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982: A Commentary (1989), V, 42, n. 4, citing, e.g., the statements in the Plenary during the fourth session (1976) by representatives of France, 59th meeting, paras. 8–10, V Off. Rec. 14; and Madagascar, 61st meeting, para. 44, V Off. Rec. 34; N. Klein, Dispute Settlement in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (2005), 56.

48 UNCLOS, supra note 43, Annex VII, Art. 3.

49 Ibid., Art. 3(c).

50 Rosenne, supra note 21, at 802.

53 Supra note 39.

54 Guyana/Suriname (Award of 17 September 2007), available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

55 Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago (Award of 11 April 2006), (2006) 45 ILM 798, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

56 Malaysia/Singapore (Award on Agreed Terms of 1 September 2005), available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

57 Supra note 54.

58 Kwiatkowska, B., ‘The 2006 Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award: A Landmark in Compulsory Jurisdiction and Equitable Maritime Boundary Delimitation’, (2007) 22 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 7. See also Blake, A. and Campbell, G. A., ‘Conflict over Flying Fish: The Dispute between Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados’, (2007) 31 (3)Marine Policy 327; Kwiatkowska, B., ‘The 2006 UNCLOS Annex VII “Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago” Award: Landmark Progress in Compulsory Jurisdiction and Equitable Maritime Boundary Delimitation’, (2007) 19 Hague Yearbook of International Law 33; B. Kwiatkowska, ‘Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago: Award on Jurisdiction and Merits’, (2007) 101 (1) AJIL 149; P. Weckel and A. Guillaume, ‘Sentence du 11 Mai 2006, Délimitation de la Zee et du plateau continental (Barbade c. Trinite-et-Tobago)’ (2006) 3 RGDIP 713.

59 Guyana/Suriname, Order No. 2 of 18 July 2005.

60 Guyana/Suriname, Order No. 1 of 18 July 2005; Order No. 3 of 12 October 2005; Order No. 4 of 12 October 2005; Order No. 5 of 16 February 2005.

61 Guyana/Suriname, Award of the Tribunal, supra note 54, at paras. 16–99.

62 Supra note 56.

63 For the full text of the ITLOS Order see www.itlos.org.

64 Lim, C., ‘The Uses of Pacific Settlement Techniques in Malaysia–Singapore Relations’, (2005) 6 Melbourne Journal of International Law 313, at 332. The case concerning Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore) was submitted to the ICJ on 24 July 2003 and the ICJ rendered its Judgment on 23 May 2008.

65 Ibid., at 332 and n. 104.

66 Keyuan, Z., ‘Implementing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in East Asia: Issues and Trends’, (2005) 9 Singapore Yearbook of International Law, 37, 53. See further Schrijver, N., ‘Practising International Law at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: The Case Concerning Land Reclamation in and Around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v. Singapore), Application for Provisional Measures’, (2005) 6 (1)Griffin's View on International and Comparative Law 35; Leong, J., ‘Singapore and Malaysia: Recent Bilateral Developments’ (2004) 24 Singapore Law Review 1.

67 Ireland/United Kingdom (MOX Plant Case) (Rules of Procedure of 25 October 2001), available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

68 For the procedural background, see Case C-459/03, Judgment, Commission v. Ireland, 30 May 2006, paras. 49–57.

69 Case C-459/03, Action brought on 30 October 2003 by the Commission of the European Communities against Ireland, Official Journal of the European Communities (2004/C 7/39).

70 Case C-459/03, Judgment, Commission v. Ireland, 30 May 2006, paras. 168–183.

71 See Order No. 6, ‘Termination of Proceedings’, 6 June 2008 available at www.pca-cpa.org.

72 See Finke, J., ‘Competing Jurisdiction of International Courts and Tribunals in Light of the MOX Plant Dispute’, (2007) 49 German Yearbook of International Law 307; N. Lavranos, ‘The MOX Plant and IJzeren Rijn Disputes: Which Court is the Supreme Arbiter?’, (2006) 19 (1) LJIL 223; Volbeda, M. B., ‘The MOX Plant Case: The Question of “Supplemental Jurisdiction” for International Environmental Claims under UNCLOS’, (2006) 42 (1)Texas International Law Journal 211; Tanaka, M., ‘Lessons from the Protracted MOX Plant Dispute: A Proposed Protocol on Marine Environmental Impact Assessment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’, (2004) 25 (2)Michigan Journal of International Law 337; R. Churchill and J. Scott, ‘The MOX Plant Litigation: The First Half-Life’, (2004) 53 (3) ICLQ 643; Röben, V., ‘The Order of the UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal to Suspend Proceedings in the Case of the MOX Plant at Sellafield: How Much Jurisdictional Subsidiarity?’, (2004) 73 (2)Nordic Journal of International Law 223; Y. Shany, ‘The First MOX Plant Award: The Need to Harmonize Competing Environmental Regimes and Dispute Settlement Procedures’, (2004) 17 (4) LJIL 815; Kwiatkowska, B., ‘The Ireland v. United Kingdom (MOX Plant) Case: Applying the Doctrine of Treaty Parallelism’, (2003) 18 (1)International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 1; M. J. C. Forster, ‘The MOX Plant Case: Provisional Measures in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea’, (2003) 16 (3) LJIL 611; Devine, D. J., ‘Provisional Measures Ordered by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in the Area of Pollution: The MOX Plant Case’, (2003) 28 South African Yearbook of International Law 263.

73 See PCA Annual Report 2006, 11. See also Permanent Court of Arbitration, Peace Palace Papers Series, International Investments and the Protection of the Environment: The Role of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (2001).

74 See PCA Annual Report 2006, Annex 7.

75 Belgium/Netherlands (Iron Rhine Arbitration) (Award of 24 May 2005), in Permanent Court of Arbitration Award Series, The Iron Rhine (IJzeren Rijn) Arbitration (Belgium–Netherlands) Award of 2005 (2007). Full text of the Award available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

76 I. van Bladel, ‘Iron Rhine Case and the Art of Treaty Interpretation’, in N. Blokker, R. Lefeber, L. Lijnzaad, and I. van Bladel (eds.), The Netherlands in Court: Essays in Honour of Johan G. Lammers (2006), 1, at 17. See also V. Barral, ‘La sentence du Rhin de Fer, une nouvelle étape dans la prise en compte du droit à l'environnement par la justice internationale’, (2006) 3 RGDIP 647; van Bladel, I., ‘The Iron Rhine Arbitration Case: On the Right Legal Track?: An Analysis of the Award and of its Relation to the Law of the European Community’, (2006) 18 Hague Yearbook of International Law 3; Lavranos, supra note 71; P. Weckel, ‘Sentences du 24 Mai 2005, Chemin de fer du Rhin (Belgique/Pays-Bas)’, (2005) 3 RGDIP 715.

77 Permanent Court of Arbitration Award Series, The Eritrea–Yemen Arbitration Awards of 1998 and 1999 (2005).

78 Eritrea/Yemen (Award of the Tribunal in the Second Stage (Maritime Delimitation), 17 December 1999, ibid., paras. 77 and 78.

79 Ibid., para. 136.

80 J.-P. Queneudec, ‘The Eritrea–Yemen Arbitration: Its Contribution to International Law’, in Permanent Court of Arbitration Award Series, supra note 76.

81 Ibid., at 2.

82 See, e.g., Deserters of Casablanca, France/Germany, Award of 22 May 1909; Arrest and Restoration of Savarkar, France/Great Britain, Award of 24 February 1911; French Postal Vessel ‘Manouba’, Award of 6 May 1913; Chevreau Claim, United Kingdom/France, Award of 9 June 1931.

83 Eritrea–Ethiopia Claims Commission Partial Awards: Prisoners of War: Eritrea's Claim 17 (1 July 2003), (2003) 42 ILM 1083; Prisoners of War: Ethiopia's Claim 4 (1 July 2003), (2003) 42 ILM 1056; Central Front: Eritrea's Claims 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 22 (28 April 2004), (2004) 43 ILM 1249; Central Front: Ethiopia's Claim 2 (28 April 2004), (2004) 43 ILM 1275; Civilians Claims: Eritrea's Claims 15, 16, 23 & 27–32 (17 December 2004), (2005) 44 ILM 601; Ethiopia's Claim 5 (17 December 2004), (2005) 44 ILM 630; Western Front, Aerial Bombardment & Related Claims: Eritrea's Claims 1, 3, 5, 9–13, 14, 21, 25 & 26 (19 December 2005), (2006) 45 ILM 396; Western & Eastern Fronts: Ethiopia's Claims 1 & 3 (19 December 2005); Diplomatic Claim: Eritrea's Claim 20 (19 December 2005); Diplomatic Claim: Ethiopia's Claim 8 (19 December 2005), (2006) 45 ILM 621; Loss of Property in Ethiopia Owned by Non-residents: Eritrea's Claim 24 (19 December 2005); Economic Loss throughout Ethiopia: Ethiopia's Claim 7 (19 December 2005); Jus Ad Bellum: Ethiopia's Claims 1–8 (19 December 2005), (2006) 45 ILM 430. Final Awards: Pensions Claim: Eritrea's Claims 15, 19 & 23 (19 December 2005), (2006) 45 ILM 633; Ports Claim: Ethiopia's Claim 6 (19 December 2005). A full set of the Claims Commission's Awards is available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

84 For critical analysis see Aldrich, G. H., ‘The Work of the Eritrea–Ethiopia Claims Commission’, (2006) 6 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 435; C. Gray, ‘The Eritrea/Ethiopia Claims Commission Oversteps its Boundaries: A Partial Award?’, (2006) 17 (4) EJIL 699; Barnidge, R. P., ‘The Eritrea–Ethiopia Claims Commission: Partial Awards, Central Front’, (2005) 6 (1)Griffin's View on International and Comparative Law 12; Klein, N., ‘State Responsibility for International Humanitarian Law Violations and the Work of the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission So Far’, (2005) 47 German Yearbook of International Law 214; Lichtenberg, J. I. A., ‘Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission’, (2004) 12 (3)Tilburg Foreign Law Review 266.

85 Decision on Delimitation of the Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia (13 April 2002), 41 ILM 1057 (2002); Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, Observations, 42 ILM 1010 (2003) (hereinafter EEBC Observations). See http://www.pca-cpa.org for the full set of Decisions.

86 Cf. EEBC Observations, supra note 84.

87 See 22nd Report of the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, Annex II, UN Doc. S/2007/33, 22 January 2007, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

88 Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, Statement of 27 November 2006, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org (hereinafter EEBC Statement).

89 See UN Doc. S/2006/992, 15 December 2006, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

90 EEBC Statement, supra note 87, para. 20.

91 Ibid,, para. 22. See also Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission Press Release of 30 November 2007, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org.

92 See Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission, press release, 12 September 2007, available at http://www.pca-cpa.org. See further B. Simma and D.-E. Khan, ‘Peaceful Settlement of Boundary Disputes under the Auspices of the Organisation of African Unity and the United Nations: The Case of the Frontier Dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia’, in N. Ando, E. McWhinney, and R. Wolfrum (eds.) Liber Amicorum Judge Shigeru Oda (2002), II, 1179; M. Kohen, ‘The Decision on the Delimitation of the Eritrea/Ethiopia Boundary of 13 April 2002: A Singular Approach to International Law Applicable to Territorial Disputes’, in M. Kohen (ed.), Liber Amicorum Lucius Caflisch (2007), 767; and M. Shaw, ‘Title, Control, and Closure? The Experience of the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission’, (2007) 56 ICLQ 755.

93 See, e.g., speech by Sands, supra note 23, at 6.

* Secretary-General, Permanent Court of Arbitration; former Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands. This article is an adaptation of speeches delivered on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Telders Society for International Law (Leiden University) on 17 February 2007 and the Conference of the World Legal Forum on 10 December 2007. The author is grateful to Fedelma Claire Smith, Assistant Legal Counsel, Permanent Court of Arbitration, for her research assistance in preparing this article.

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