Only by acceeding to UNCLOS can the U.S. shape direction of ITLOS and its rulings
Judicial and arbitral bodies: Interpretations rendered by judicial and arbitral tribunals established under the Convention will also influence the perceptions and behavior of lawyers and governments around the world and the future understanding of the law. While the actual judgment may be binding only on the parties to a case, the effect of a judicial or arbitral decision on perceptions of the law is not limited to parties to a case or even to parties to the Convention. By joining the Convention the United States would have the right to nominate and participate in the election of judges to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that sits in Hamburg, as well the right to add names to the lists from which arbitrators are selected under the Convention. Moreover, by joining the Convention, the United States would enhance the likelihood that judges and arbitrators would pay serious attention to its views regarding the interpretation and application of the Convention, even in cases where the United States is not a party to the dispute and has not exercised its right to intervene under the Convention.
Thus, even though the United States opts for arbitration under the Convention rather than accepting the jurisdiction of ITLOS, by joining the Convention our influence will extend well beyond any arbitration to which we may be a party. Moreover, we gain the right to seek urgent temporary provisional measures from ITLOS pending the constitution of an arbitral tribunal. As the Senate recognized when it approved the existing Implementing Agreement regarding fisheries to which we are already party, this enhances our leverage over foreign fishing on the high seas adjacent to our exclusive economic zone. Becoming party to the Convention extends that leverage to fishing vessels flying the flag of any country that is party to the Law of the Sea Convention.