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Peaceful Settlement of Disputes


An international dispute is a disagreement between or among states or parties

over something more or less tangible to which the parties have formulated
claims and counter-claims sufficiently definite to permit an enquiry into the
facts and the formulation of proposals or decisions for its settlement.
Broadly speaking, there are only 2 methods for settlement of international
disputes - peaceful ones and those that involve force.
The successful resolution of international differences by peaceful means
depends in part upon the adequacy of available procedures and organs.

The UN Charter confers on the Security Council the primary responsibility

for the maintenance of international peace and security. Chapter VI (Articles
33 to 38) of the UN Charter deals with the Pacific Settlement of Disputes.
The governing paragraph, Article 33 (1) requires the parties to any dispute,
the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and
security, to seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation,
arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or
other peaceful means of their own choice.

Pacific settlement may be divided into two main categories-non-decisional

and decisional. The former consists of procedures whose conclusion the
disputant parties are not legally obligated to accept. These include
negotiations, good offices, mediation, inquiry and conciliation. The
decisional settlements cover arbitration and adjudication.
Most inter-state disputes are solved by negotiations or left unsolved.

In all methods of pacific settlement, except negotiations, a third party or

parties is always involved. ‘Good offices’ is a process by which contending
states may be brought together by other states or individuals. Good offices,
once accepted, have usually led to mediation.

Conciliation is a combination of inquiry and mediation plus formal

recommendations. It is the process of settling a dispute by referring it to a
commission of persons who task it is to elucidate the facts and to make a
report containing proposals for a settlement, but not having the binding
character of an award or judgment.

International arbitration is a process which has for its objective the settlement of
disputes between States by judges of their own choice and on the basis of respect
for law. Thus in arbitration (1) the parties choose their own judges who (2) decide
the case on the basis of respect for law and (3) the decision is binding.

Adjudication is the settlement of international disputes according to international

law by permanent international tribunals.

There is in fact no lack of mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of international

disputes. The reason for failure lies more in the lack of urgent and persistent
interest on the part of members of the UN than on the part of the institution itself.