Dispute settlement provisions in UNCLOS contribute to advancement of maritime law and are in best interest of US
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Several more forceful responses to the critics of the Convention's obligatory dispute settlement provisions are in order. First, the U.S. has already accepted the Convention's dispute settlement system with respect to certain significant categories of disputes (by ratifying the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement, which incorporates the Convention's dispute settlement provisions).54 Second, one can make a strong case that third-party dispute settlement has led to decisions that strengthen the Convention's rules and will lead to many more. For example, in its merits decision in the Saiga case, the ITLOS reinforced the concept of the EEZ as a zone of limited coastal state jurisdiction, which extends neither to customs matters nor generally to all matters affecting a coastal state's "public interest."55 Third, the U.S. itself might find the Convention's dispute settlement system useful. For instance, arbitration could be threatened or pursued in order to oppose and publicly expose other states' illegal straight baseline claims.56 The Convention's dispute settlement provisions can help prevent the compromises embodied in the Convention from unraveling.
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.