International Arbitration, from Athens to Locarno

By Jackson H. Ralston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
JURISDICTION OF THE PERMANENT COURT OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE

250. Foundations of jurisdiction. -- The provision for the formation of a court and the jurisdiction to be entertained by it is to be found in Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which reads as follows:

The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the League for adoption plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.

Before reaching this point the Covenant had already provided for the reference to arbitration or to inquiry by the Council of any matter likely to lead to rupture, and that whenever any dispute should arise between the members of the League which they recognized to be suitable for submission to arbitration and which could not be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy they would submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration. By declaration of a general character the Covenant said (Article 13) that

disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which if established would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration.

It will be readily recognized that the matters just indicated are quite as susceptible of being referred to a court of justice as to arbitration and this we shall later find was the view entertained by the League when its members very generally subscribed to the Statute formally creating the Court.

It will be noted that by Article 14 of the Covenant, the duty of formulating and submitting to the members of the League plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice rested upon the Council. Pursuant to this obligation the Council asked a commission of ten eminent lawyers to prepare the form of the Statute -- virtually the constitution -- for a new international court.

We have already sufficiently discussed the steps taken from a histori

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