Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations
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Research Handbook on the Law of International Organizations

Edited by Jan Klabbers and Åsa Wallendahl

This pioneering Research Handbook with contributions from renowned experts, provides an overview of the general doctrines making up the law of international organizations.
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Chapter 10: Dispute Settlement

Kirsten Schmalenbach


Kirsten Schmalenbach INTRODUCTION Where there is a law, there is a dispute; where there is a dispute, there is – by some means or other – a dispute settlement mechanism. Admittedly, the international legal order is not renowned for providing sophisticated dispute settlement mechanisms. There is no denying, though, that a multitude of dispute settlement mechanisms operate on the international plane these days. Chapters VI and VIII of the UN (United Nations) Charter dedicate themselves to this topic in all its aspects and, at the same time, support the key role of international organizations in this field; the role in question being that of an ‘objective’ conciliator in a dispute between at least two parties, who are advocating opposing views concerning a matter of policy or of law (Merrills, 2005: 1). Not particularly in the focus of public interest, and understandably ignored by the UN Charter, international organizations themselves may also be parties to a dispute (as applicant or respondent) and therefore subjected to dispute settlement mechanisms in one form or another. International Dispute Settlement: A Sketch As a result of the principle of free choice of means, as stipulated in Art. 33 of the UN Charter, the models of international dispute settlement are manifold. On closer examination, however, they basically comprise various combinations of different institutional settings, methods of dispute resolution and assigned powers.1 Referring to the institutional setting, two major forms of dispute settlement can be distinguished: in the course of internal dispute settlement, e.g. bilateral negotiations, the disputants keep...

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