International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
SANCTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

81. Necessity of sanctions. -- So accustomed are we to the usual methods of administering and enforcing judgments within the state that the question most commonly asked with regard to international awards and judgments is, "How can they be enforced?" It is not alone in private discourse but also in the proceedings of international bodies that the question is asked; and many schemes of enforcement, from the cessation of diplomatic relations up to war, have been suggested and urged. A kindred question arises as to the method of enforcement of any principle of international law. We find Moore enumerating in the Digest of International Law modes of redress as being (1) negotiation; (2) good offices and mediation; (3) arbitration; (4) withdrawal of diplomatic relations; (5) retorsion or retaliation; (6) display of force; (7) use of force; (8) reprisals; (9) peaceful blockade; (10) embargo; (11) non-intercourse. There seems no appropriate place in the textbooks for the all-pervasive and all-powerful influence of international public opinion.

Dr. Harry Pratt Judson, discouraged by what he considered recent violations of rules of international law in defiance of the world public opinion, declared that these

have not the weight of a farthing. All nations are bound by their own immediate, countervailing interests, and they disregard any of these rules that get in their way, merely because they get in the way of what they believe to be their interests.1

But the Doctor overlooked the fact that the great interest of every state internationally is to stand well with its fellows, and any departure from a course of conduct sanctioned by mankind generally carries punishment of some sort. There is further much greater reason for observing an award than there is for paying obeisance to an abstract principle of law.

Experience, both private and public, when given full consideration, seems to demonstrate that the question of sanctions is one of very minor importance in practice. In our private intercourse we discover that the obligations which are most generally enforced and are most effective are in no wise dependent upon force as a sanction. The man who gambles pays his debt of honor, as he regards it, with greater certainty than he will meet an obligation enforced by execution. Similarly, taking the

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1
Proceedings, American Society of International Law, 1915, 111.

-108-

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