Sovereignty costs of external dispute resolution in UNCLOS less ornnerous than provisions U.S. has already accepted
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There is no doubt that external dispute resolution infringes upon U.S. sovereignty and it is therefore not surprising that staunch advocates of sovereignty steadfastly oppose the Convention, in part due to its dispute resolution mechanisms. However, the costs associated with the Convention’s dispute resolution provision are similar to those the United States is already subject to under principles of universal jurisdiction and territoriality. Furthermore, the Convention provides the United States with an escape from mandatory dispute resolution. In light of this, arguments against ratification of the Convention based upon sovereignty rooted in the dispute resolution mechanisms are outweighed by the benefits the Convention offers to the United States.91
The costs associated with the dispute resolution provisions in UNCLOS are similar to those the United States is already subject to under the principles of universal jurisdiction and territoriality and numerous other agreements the U.S. has already ratified. Furthermore, the Convention provides the United States with an escape from mandatory dispute resolution which the U.S. has already invoked in its signing statements to ensure that the U.S. military will not be threatened by UNCLOS tribunals.
The United States is already a party to more than 85 agreements (most of them multilateral in nature) that provide for the resolution of disputes by the International Court of Justice. It has also already accepted the dispute resolution mechanisms in UNCLOS by ratifying the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement and the 2000 Convention on Central and Western Pacific Fisheries, both of which incorporate by reference the dispute settlement provisions of the Convention.