Not remotely possible that tribunals could overrule U.S. on "military nature of activities"
[ Page 276-277 ]
Responding to a question posed by Senator Lugar at a 2003 SFRC hearing regarding whether a tribunal could trump a state’s decision regarding whether an activity was “military” in nature, : “I believe the chances of this article being interpreted the way some are arguing and posing a risk to the United States is about like your deciding not to hold this hearing today because of the risk of the hearing room being hit by a meteorite. To be frank, Mr. Chairman, this is a silly objection. . . . ” "" The objection by critics of the LOS Convention and the purported risk of an overreaching tribunal misses one of the most basic rules of jurisprudence. If a court or tribunal acts beyond its jurisdiction, competence, or authority, such an action would be ultra vires and any decision or judgment issued by that court or tribunal would not be legally binding. Finally, of note is that many other countries have asserted an exemption under Article 298 to include either military activities or matters before the UN Security Council, including, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Germany, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.46 Consequently, there is broad international support for the military activities exemption.
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.