The Law of International Institutions

By D. W. Bowett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
THE TREND FROM AD HOC TRIBUNALS TO PERMANENT INSTITUTIONS

THE problem of solving disputes between States has led to the creation of a wide range of procedures including negotiation, good-offices, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement. In one sense they can all be regarded as "institutions", yet we propose to restrict this term to bodies set up for the specific purpose of carrying out these procedures for settlement and, moreover, to concentrate on the "judicial" procedures such as arbitration and judicial settlement in which, in general, one finds as adjudication according to the law and resulting in an award binding on the parties.

It may first be observed, however, that conciliation, as a process for settling disputes not deemed immediately susceptible to settlement by a judicial process -- hence often termed "political" disputes -- has become equally institutionalised. Developing from the International Commissions of Inquiry provided for in the Hague Conventions for the Pacific Settlement of Disputes of 1899 and 1907, and utilised in the celebrated Bryan "cooling-off" treaties of 1914 and the Locarno Pacts of 1925, the conciliation commissions of the General Act for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1928 were charged "to elucidate the questions in dispute, to collect with that object all necessary information by means of inquiry or otherwise, and to endeavour to bring the parties to an agreement" (Art. 15). The commissions could be rendered permanent at the request of one party.1 Yet the real future of conciliation lay with the permanent political organisations which were being established; the Locarno Pact had virtually accepted this in providing for reference of the dispute to the Council of the League in the event of failure by the permanent conciliation commission to settle the dispute. The General Act for the Pacific Settlement of Disputes of 1928 likewise linked the permanent and special conciliation commissions envisaged by the Act to the League Council's conciliation functions by excluding the former where a dispute had been referred to the

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1
And see Chap. II of the European Convention for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes of 1957, providing for conciliation of disputes other than legal disputes by permanent conciliation commissions: 5 European Yearbook, 34.

-211-

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