Each member nation may appoint to the court up to four jurists versed in international law. A case is initiated when two or more nations sign a compromise, an agreement to submit a dispute to arbitration. The disputants may either select arbitrators from the panel to hear their case or they may have two arbitrators choose an umpire before whom the hearing will be held. The tribunal also maintains a list of arbitrators who specialize in the environment and natural resources. Tribunals sit at The Hague unless another place is specified in the compromise. The Hague Tribunal is administered by the International Bureau, which provides administrative support and has custody of archives, and by the Administrative Council, which is composed of the diplomatic envoys of member nations accredited to the Netherlands and shapes the policy of the organization.
Important cases include the final settlement (1904) of the Venezuela Claims, the North Atlantic Coast Fisheries Arbitration (1910) between the United States and Great Britain, the territorial dispute (1998) between Yemen and Eritrea over islands in the Red Sea, the Eritean-Ethiopian boundary dispute (2002) and war damages claims (2009), and the determination of the boundaries of the contested Abyei region of Sudan (2009). After World War I the Hague Tribunal lost most of its importance to the World Court, which was in 1945 superseded by the International Court of Justice. Unlike the International Court of Justice, the tribunal also hears cases between a nation and a private party.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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