US was leading advocate of system of third party arbitration within UNCLOS because it viewed this as essential to consistent application of the law
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U.S. concerns about third-party dispute settlement were rarely voiced when the Convention was being negotiated. Indeed, the United States strongly supported third-party dispute settlement at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), the forum at which the Convention was negotiated during 1973-1982. U.S. negotiators regarded the dispute settlement provisions as important to achieving consensus at the negotiations and contributing to stability and predictability with respect to law of the sea disputes. According to Professor Louis B. Sohn, writing a third of a century ago during UNCLOS III, a
principal concern of the United States in the law of the sea negotiations is to provide procedures leading to a binding settlement of law of the sea disputes. Without such procedures it might be difficult to reach the final compromise needed to arrive at an overall solution of the issues before the Conference. The value of such a compromise would be greatly diminished if the parties to the treaty retained the right of unilateral interpretation, without any chance for an impartial adjudication. The purpose of the law of the sea negotiations is to achieve stability, certainty, and predictability, thus removing, or at least diminishing, the conflicts over law of the sea issues which otherwise might threaten the peace of the world. Only an effective method of dispute settlement can remove this danger.
Statements of U.S. officials and U.S. proposals at UNCLOS III emphasized the need for a comprehensive dispute settlement system that would apply with minimal exceptions to all parties and to all parts of the Convention.21 The binding third-party dispute settlement provisions should yield uniform interpretations of the Convention, with the United States favoring recourse to a permanent law of the sea tribunal to further that goal.22 Another U.S. objective was "to broaden the access to dispute settlement methods," opening some procedures to individuals and international organizations.23 The United States was one of the leading proponents of a comprehensive, binding third-party dispute settlement system at UNCLOS III that would lead to uniform interpretation and application of the Convention.
"The United States and the Law of the Sea Convention: U.S. Views on the Settlement of International Law Disputes in International Tribunals and U.S. Courts
." The Publicist
. Vol. 1. (2009): 27-52. [ More (9 quotes) ]
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.