The Peaceful Non-Settlement of Disputes: Article 4 of CMATS in Timor-Leste v Australia
24 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2017 Last revised: 30 Mar 2018
Date Written: 2017
Articles 2(3) and 33(1) of the Charter of the United Nations ('Charter') recognise the importance of the peaceful settlement of disputes. But what about the peaceful non-settlement of disputes? Arguably, in order to achieve the goals set forth in the Charter such as international peace and prosperity, certain legal disputes are best left unsettled, at least for a certain period of time. This is particularly the case if two states expressly agree by treaty to peacefully not settle their dispute. Nevertheless, in its Decision on Competence of 19 September 2016, the Conciliation Commission in Timor-Leste v Australia failed to enforce an agreement to peacefully not settle a dispute. This article critiques the Commission’s decision not only from a legal perspective, but also from a policy perspective.
Keywords: Timor-Leste, Australia, Timor Sea, Conciliation, UNCLOS, CMATS, dispute settlement, jurisdiction, competence
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