The Permanent Court of International Justice, 1920-1942

By Manley O. Hudson; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3 THE CENTRAL AMERICAN COURT OF JUSTICE

§39. Federation in Central America. The organization of an international court in Central America was greatly facilitated by the fact that since their independence began the five Central American States have had a tradition of unity and solidarity. This tradition has persisted in spite of frequent dissensions, and it has found expression in numerous attempts at federation. Under the Spanish regime, the Captaincy-General of Guatemala included in its five provinces1 the territory now possessed by the five States; this dependency declared its independence in 1821. Two years later the Republic of the United Provinces of Central America was formed, and it continued for some years. Later attempts at union were made, especially in 1840, 1842, 1847, 1852, 1872, 1885, and 1895, all of which proved more or less abortive,2 as were the latest attempts in 1921 and 1934.3 Unanimous agreement of the five States was not easy to achieve; during a large part of the time distances were great and communications difficult; and no pressing need made union imperative. Yet the attempts at federation, renewed from time to time over a period of a century, had the effect of encouraging cooperation in many fields, and led to efforts in 1902, 1907, 1921 and 1923 to create a judicial agency for the handling of disputes between the five States.

§40. The Treaty of Corinto of 1902. On January 20, 1902, four of the Central American States ( Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador) signed a treaty at Corinto, providing for obligatory arbitration and for a permanent tribunal of arbitration to be instituted on Septem

____________________
1
On the history of these provinces, see the arbitral award given by the King of Spain on December 23, 1906. 35 Martens, Nouveau recueil général (2d ser.), p. 563; 100 British and Foreign State Papers, p. 1096.
2
A note on these attempts is published in U.S. Foreign Relations, 1917, p. 29. See also L. Moreno, Historia de las Relaciones Interestatuales de Centroamerica ( Madrid, 1928); Dana G. Munro , The Five Republics of Central America ( 1918), c. 8; "The Central American League of Nations", World Peace Foundation, Pamphlet Series, Vol. VII ( 1917); W. F. Slade, "The Federation of Central America", 8 Journal of Race Development ( 1917), pp. 79-150, 204-275.
3
For the Treaty of Union of January 19, 1921, see 5 League of Nations Treaty Series, p. 19; 1 Hudson, International Legislation, p. 600. For the Treaty of Central American Con- fraternity of April 12, 1934, see 6 Hudson, op. cit., p. 824.

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