Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation - The united nations




As World War II neared its conclusion, Allied statesmen reasoned that a new beginning for world organization was necessary, so at conferences at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and at San Francisco, they wrote the Charter of the United Nations. The charter included even more peaceful settlement procedures than the League Covenant. Parties to disputes were first of all to seek solutions "by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice." The charter provided for a new World Court and declared that all UN members would be ipso facto parties to its statute. The new World Court Statute was a revision of that of 1920. When the International Court of Justice held its first meeting at The Hague on 3 April 1946, the most noticeable change was the dropping of "Permanent" from its official name.

The United Nations has been a major factor in world affairs since its founding. Decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council have repeatedly tried to maintain order and peace. Intervention in Korea and many peacekeeping operations have often given the impression of a military alliance, but the quieter means of settling disputes peacefully have, nonetheless, been of importance. The International Court of Justice has made decisions in numerous disputes, and governments have continued to make use of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and ad hoc arbitration tribunals. Such tribunals make possible preservation of greater secrecy and, at the same time, allow each party to a dispute to name some of the jurists who will hear the case. The UN secretary-general, Kofi A. Annan, in 1998 noted that the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice were neighbors in the Peace Palace and were "complementary institutions offering the international community a comprehensive range of options for the peaceful resolution of disputes."

When one reflects upon American initiatives to promote arbitration and a world tribunal before World War I and the consistency with which U.S. presidents during the 1920s and 1930s recommended adherence to the World Court Statute, American support since 1945 for the World Court and other means for pacific settlement has often seemed tepid. The memoirs and biographies of presidents and secretaries of state since 1945 include many references to the United Nations, but it is rare that they mention the International Court of Justice, arbitration, or other means for pacific settlement. As a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has pointed out, American diplomacy has often appeared to be unaware of the resources offered by international law. Yet, a century after the Pious Fund case, arbitration again was of importance in some aspects of American foreign relations. Problems resulting from the Iranian Revolution led to establishment at The Hague of the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal in 1981. It was reported in April 2000 that the tribunal had settled 3,700 claims cases involving hundreds of billions of dollars. Certainly Iranian–United States relations continued to be unsatisfactory, but the tribunal demonstrated that through arbitration, progress toward a better relationship could be made.

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