Hague Tribunal

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Hague Tribunal

The Hague Tribunal was an Arbitration court established for the purpose of facilitating immediate recourse for the settlement of international disputes. As of 1993, the term is often used to refer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which has prose-cutorial and adjudicatory powers. Both entities are commonly referred to transitionally as the Hague Tribunal, although technically speaking, they are not the same.

The Hague Tribunal was established by the Hague Peace Conference in 1899 to provide a permanent court accessible at all times for the resolution of international differences. The court was granted jurisdiction over all arbitration cases, provided the parties thereto did not decide to institute a special tribunal. In addition, an international bureau was established to act as a registry for the tribunal and to serve as the channel of communications with respect to the meetings of the court.

The Hague Tribunal is considered permanent due to the fact that there is a permanent list of members from among whom the arbitrators are chosen. In 1907 at the Second Hague Conference it was provided that of the two arbitrators selected by each of the parties, only one could be a national of the state appointing him or her.

In 1993, the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed a resolution to establish within the Hague, Netherlands, an ad hoc international 14-judge court expressly mandated to prosecute and adjudicate War Crimes, Genocide, and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. This International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is often referred to as the Hague Tribunal. (Subsequent resolutions have increased the court to 16 members as well as a special force of ad litem judges.) The tribunal is composed of three chambers and an appeal chamber. Judges are elected by the UN Assembly but are nominated for four-year terms by their respective countries.

The UN Security Council also chooses a prosecutor who, in the name of the tribunal, brings indictments. The tribunal has power to impose prison sentences up to life but has no power to impose the death penalty. Sentences meted by the tribunal are served in various prison systems of several nations with whom the tribunal has made formal arrangements. The tribunal has no policing power or police force and relies for these on the mandated cooperation of various states for arrests, documents, and compulsory producing of witnesses. It operates on an annual budget of approximately $100 million.

In its first ten years (1993–2003), the tribunal had indicted over 80 defendants (several in custody awaiting trial) and completed 34 trials, for which 29 persons were found guilty. (Of the 29 convictions, 18 were Serbs; nine were Croats; and two were Bosnian Muslims.) One of the more notorious defendants, former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, faced 66 separate charges of grave crimes, including genocide and other atrocities allegedly involving Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and Kosovo. His trial had been continuing for more than a year as of March 2003. Other completed trials included that of General Radislav Krystic, found guilty of genocide in the Srebrenica massacres of as many as 8,000 persons; Croatian General Tihomir Blaskic, found guilty of the massacre of villagers in Ahmici; and General Stanislav Galic, allegedly involved in the killing of civilians in Sarajevo. As of April 2003, two of the most wanted defendants remained at large: President Radovan Karadzic of the Bosnian Serb Republic, and Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb army.

Further readings

"The Lesson of Slobodan Milosevic's Trial and Tribulation." 2003. Economist 366.

Wald, Patricia M. 2002. "Punishment of War Crimes by International Tribunals." Social Research 69.


Arbitration; International Court of Justice; International Law; Jurisdiction.

References in periodicals archive ?
Nevertheless, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no power to enforce the verdict.
Speakers included Jan Willem Bitter, Simmons & Simmons LLP; Garth Schofield, Permanent Court of Arbitration (The Netherlands); Rachel Mulheron, University of London (UK); and faculty from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), University of Kansas (USA), Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and McGill University (Canada).
In the event that the records are not housed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the commissioners will arrange for their storage at an academic institution able to provide the same level of security as the Permanent Court of Arbitration," according to the BICI report.
The president of the Permanent Court of Arbitration said: "We urge the parties to take the necessary steps to expedite the measures for the resolution of outstanding questions.
On June 19, 2001, 130 countries met at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague and approved a set of rules for the international arbitration of disputes involving natural resources and the environment.
The rights of victims of environmental disasters worldwide are to be formally recognized by the Permanent Court of Arbitration," reported a BBC News dispatch on November 26th.
Japan will name Hisashi Owada, a former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations and father of Crown Princess Masako, as an arbitrator of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Cayetano belied news reports claiming President Rodrigo Duterte threw in the waste bin the tribunal award of the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, which favored the Philippines' maritime claim and invalidated China's historic nine-dash line claiming almost all the South China Sea territories.
The Pakistani spokesman was showing reaction to a verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that delivered verdict against China.
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