International Law

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Three purposes can be identified based on the question given. First is to identify the various methods of peaceful settlement of international disputes between States. Second is to illustrate how important it is to have a combination and interaction between these various methods in order to solve an international dispute. Lastly, is to prepare a legal-brief to advise State C on the principles and applications of dispute settlement at the international arena.

a) Various Methods of Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes between States.

Peaceful settlement of dispute is an important principle of the United Nations (UN) since one of the purposes of the establishment of the UN is to bring about peaceful means in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of peace.[1] All Member States of the UN are obliged to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a matter that international peace and security and justice are not endangered.[2] It is also an obligation to the States to refrain from the threat of use of force.[3]

The effect of Article 1(1), Article 2(3) and Article 2(4) of the UN Charter is that whenever there is a dispute between States, they are not allowed to use force and are required to settle their disputes peacefully.[4]

Therefore it is essential to define the terms of dispute and peaceful settlement. A dispute can be defined as a serious argument or disagreement between two or more parties. In the light of International Law, a dispute is a conflict of legal matters or of interests between two states. International disputes may relate to many matters such as the attribution of title to a territory, to maritime zones, to movables or to parts of the cultural heritage of a State. Meanwhile, peaceful settlement involves a diplomatic variety of processes and outcomes.

Article 33 of the UN Charter identifies the mechanism that is used for the peaceful settlement of disputes between States. Generally these various mechanisms can be divided into two broad categories, namely peaceful settlement of disputes by diplomatic means and peaceful settlement of disputes by legal means. Peaceful settlement of disputes by diplomatic means is a method of solving disputes where the disputing States retain control over the dispute insofar they may accept or reject a proposed settlement.[5] The methods available for peaceful settlement of disputes by diplomatic means are negotiation, mediation, inquiry and conciliation.[6] Peaceful settlement of disputes by legal means is when the result of the settlement has a legally binding effect decision for the parties of the dispute.[7] Methods which fall under the peaceful settlement of disputes by legal means are arbitration and judicial settlement.[8]

i. Negotiation

The simplest means of settling international disputes which the States resort to before making use of other means of dispute resolution are negotiation.[9] Negotiation figures first among the means of dispute settlement as enumerated in Article 33.[10] Negotiation involves a direct and bilateral process between the disputing States. The great majority of treaties relating to peaceful settlement of disputes between States recognise negotiation as the first step towards the settlement of international dispute.[11] The effect of a negotiation is that one of the parties to the dispute acknowledge to the claim made by the other party and waived its own rights for the sake of peace and friendly relations between the disputing States.[12]

An example of a negotiated settlement can be seen in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999.[13] In 1999, NATO aircraft bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese nationals and wounding approximately 20 others. Later the United States agreed to compensate China for those...
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