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Settlement of International Disputes

I. Introduction

The term international dispute covers not only disputes between states but also other
cases, which have come with in the international regulation.
Fundamental purpose of International law is to maintain peace and security in the

II. Literal Meaning of Dispute

Dispute means Conflict, Argue about something or Disagreement

III. Meaning of International Dispute

It was held that international dispute means a disagreement on a point of law or fact , a
conflict of legal views or interest between two persons or states.

IV. Definition of International Dispute

According to Lawrance, An international dispute is one which is between states must

relate to well defined subject matter and some actions by states

According to Hague Convention, International Disputes are a disagreement on a

point of law or fact , or a conflict of legal view between states

V. Requisites of International Disputes

Dispute between states
Must relate to well-defined subject matter
Must relate to some actions by the state

VI. Kinds of Settlement of International Disputes

Extra Judicial/Diplomatic Ways

1. Negotiation

According to Starke, full-fledge sovereign states are the regular parties to

international negotiation.
North Sea Continental Shelf Case
International Court of Justice emphasised on the obligation of the parties to
negotiate and to pursue them as far as possible with a view to concluding agreement.

Who may negotiate?


Head of states
Their Representative
Diplomatic agent
2. Good office

When the parties refuse to negotiate, a third State may come forward and tender its
Good offices for the purpose of settlement of International Disputes.
3. Mediation
In case of mediation, third party plays a vital role in resolving the dispute other than
only offering the good offices e.g., Role-played by US President in Middle East
Peace Talks
4. Conciliation
In this case, third party to the dispute investigates the matter and submits its
suggestions to settle the disputes between the states.
5. Enquiry
Enquiry is not an independent method and is often used along with some other method of
resolving the International Disputes. The object of enquiry is to investigate the true facts of
the International Dispute which may help to resolve it.
6. Settlement Under United Nations

U/Article 33 (2) of UN Charter

The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle
their dispute by such means.

Judicial Methods
7. Arbitration

Article 15 of the Hague Convention, `International Arbitration has for its object the
settlement of differences between states by judges of their own choice and on the
basis of respect of law.`
Arbitration is that kind of method in which dispute referred to certain person who
called arbitrator, is admitted by the both parties to decide the dispute. The decision of
the arbitrator is known as award.

Forcible Means

1) Retortion and complaints

Starke defines retortion is a reaction by a state against discourteous or inequitable
acts by another state e.g., restriction on trade and travel with other state.

2) Reprisal
Certain acts or restrictions implemented by International community on specific
states to compel them for the settlement of International Dispute.
Case Reference: GERMANY VS PORTUGAL 1928
It was held` reprisals are only valid under certain circumstances i.e., Reprisals are
illegal unless they are based upon a previous act contrary to international Law. There
must be certain proportion between the offence and the reprisal as the necessary
condition for the legitimacy of the latter. Reprisals are only legitimate when they have
been preceded by an unsuccessful demand of redress and justified by necessities. `
3) Hostile Embargo
If a state violate Treaty or committed an International crime, than the effected state
becomes entitled to create obstruction in the transfer of its ships which are within the
territory of effected states.
4) Pacific Blockade
5) Intervention
Intervention is interference by a state in the affairs of another state for the purpose of
maintaining or altering the actual conditions of thing. E.g., in 1998, Bombardment of America
in Afghanistan, Bombardment of Israel in the territory of Lebanon.
6) War
War is the last resort to settle the International Disputes. It is the most coercive and forcible
means. When the other methods of settlement fail, the state may impose war on other state.

VII. Conclusion