U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will not put U.S. Navy under control of foreign tribunals
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Myth: The Convention would permit an international tribunal to second-guess the U.S. Navy.
Reality: No international tribunal would have jurisdiction over the U.S. Navy. U.S. military activities, including those of the U.S. Navy, would not be subject to any form of dispute resolution. The Convention expressly permits a party to exclude from dispute settlement those disputes that concern “military activities.” The United States will have the exclusive right to determine what constitutes a military activity.
Some opponents of UNCLOS have argued that by ratifying UNCLOS, U.S. military forces could be subject to adverse ruling by international tribunals through the dispute resolution mechanisms of the treaty. However, the U.S. defense department has reviewed the relevant law and has found no undue liability risk to U.S. forces. Furthermore, in the Senate's Advice and Consent resolution that would ratify UNCLOS, the U.S. has taken advantage of article 298(1) in UNCLOS to exempt itself from all dispute settlement.