United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea part 15

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PART XV SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
 SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
 Article 279 
 Obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means
 States Parties shall settle any dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention by peaceful means in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations and, to this end, shall seek a solution by the means indicated in Article 33, paragraph 1, of the Charter.
 Article 280 
 Settlement of disputes by any peaceful means chosen by the parties
 Nothing in this Part impairs the right of any States Parties to agree at any time to settle a dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention by any peaceful means of their own choice.
 Article 281 
 Procedure where no settlement has been reached by the parties
 1. If the States Parties which are parties to a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention have agreed to seek settlement of the dispute by a peaceful means of their own choice, the procedures provided for in this Part apply only where no settlement has been reached by recourse to such means and the agreement between the parties does not exclude any further procedure .
 2. If the parties have also agreed on a time-limit, paragraph 1 applies only upon the expiration of that time-limit.
 Article 282 
 Obligations under general, regional or bilateral agreements
 If the States Parties which are parties to a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention have agreed, through a general, regional or bilateral agreement or otherwise, that such dispute shall, at the request of any party to the dispute, be submitted to a procedure that entails a binding decision, that procedure shall apply in lieu of the procedures provided for in this Part, unless the parties to the dispute otherwise agree.
 Article 283 
 Obligation to exchange views
 1. When a dispute arises between States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention, the parties to the dispute shall proceed expeditiously to an exchange of views regarding its settlement by negotiation or other peaceful means.
 2. The parties shall also proceed expeditiously to an exchange of views where a procedure for the settlement of such a dispute has been terminated without a settlement or where a settlement has been reached and the circumstances require consultation regarding the manner of implementing the settlement.
 Article 284 
 Conciliation
 1. A State Party which is a party to a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention may invite the other party or parties to submit the dispute to conciliation in accordance with the procedure under Annex V, section 1, or another conciliation procedure.
 2. If the invitation is accepted and if the parties agree upon the conciliation procedure to be applied, any party may submit the dispute to that procedure.
 3. If the invitation is not accepted or the parties do not agree upon the procedure, the conciliation proceedings shall be deemed to be terminated.
 4. Unless the parties otherwise agree, when a dispute has been submitted to conciliation, the proceedings may be terminated only in accordance with the agreed conciliation procedure.
 Article 285 
    Application of this section to disputes submitted pursuant to Part XI
 This section applies to any dispute which pursuant to Part XI, section 5, is to be settled in accordance with procedures provided for in this Part. If an entity other than a State Party is a party to such a dispute, this section applies mutatis mutandis.
 SECTION 2. COMPULSORY PROCEDURES ENTAILING BINDING DECISIONS
 Article 286 
 Application of procedures under this section
 Subject to section 3, any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention shall, where no settlement has been reached by recourse to section 1, be submitted at the request of any party to the dispute to the court or tribunal having jurisdiction under this section.
 Article 287 
 Choice of procedure
 1. When signing, ratifying or acceding to this Convention or at any time thereafter, a State shall be free to choose, by means of a written declaration, one or more of the following means for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention:
 (a) the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established in accordance with Annex VI;
 (b) the International Court of Justice;
 (c) an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VII;
 (d) a special arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VII for one or more of the categories of disputes specified therein.
 2. A declaration made under paragraph I shall not affect or be affected by the obligation of a State Party to accept the jurisdiction of the Sea-Bed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to the extent and in the manner provided for in Part Xl, section 5.
 3. A State Party, which is a party to a dispute not covered by a declaration in force, shall be deemed to have accepted arbitration in accordance with Annex VII.
 4. If the parties to a dispute have accepted the same procedure for the settlement of the dispute, it may be submitted only to that procedure, unless the parties otherwise agree.
 5. If the parties to a dispute have not accepted the same procedure for the settlement of the dispute, it may be submitted only to arbitration in accordance with Annex VII, unless the parties otherwise agree.
 6. A declaration made under paragraph 1 shall remain in force until three months after notice of revocation has been deposited with the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations.
 7. A new declaration, a notice of revocation or the expiry of a declaration does not in any way affect proceedings pending before a court or tribunal having jurisdiction under this article, unless the parties otherwise agree.
 8. Declarations and notices referred to in this article shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the States Parties.
 Article 288 
 Jurisdiction 
  
 1. A court or tribunal referred to in article 287 shall have jurisdiction over any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention which is submitted to it in accordance with this Part.
 2. A court or tribunal referred to in article 287 shall also have jurisdiction over any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of an international agreement related to the purposes of this Convention, which Is submitted to it in accordance with the agreement.
 3. The Sea-Bed Disputes Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established in accordance with Annex VI, and any other chamber or arbitral tribunal referred to in Part XI, section 5, shall have jurisdiction in any matter which is submitted to it in accordance therewith.
 4. In the event of a dispute as to whether a court or tribunal has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by decision of that court or tribunal.
 Article 289 
 Experts
 In any dispute involving scientific or technical matters, a court or tribunal exercising jurisdiction under this section may, at the request of a party or proprio motu, select in consultation with the parties no fewer than two scientific or technical experts chosen preferably from the relevant list prepared in accordance with Annex VIII, article 2, to sit with the court or tribunal but without the right to vote.
 Article 290 
 Provisional measures
 1. If a dispute has been duly submitted to a court or tribunal which considers that prima facie it has jurisdiction under this Part or Part XI, section 5, the court or tribunal may prescribe any provisional measures which it considers appropriate under the circumstances to preserve the respective rights of the parties to the dispute or to prevent serious harm to the marine environment, pending the final decision.
 2. Provisional measures may be modified or revoked as soon as the circumstances justifying them have changed or ceased to exist.
 3. Provisional measures may be prescribed, modified or revoked under this article only at the request of a party to the dispute and after the parties have been given an opportunity to be heard.
 4. The court or tribunal shall forthwith give notice to the parties to the dispute, and to such other States Parties as it considers appropriate, of the prescription, modification or revocation of provisional measures.
 5. Pending the constitution of an arbitral tribunal to which a dispute is being submitted under this section, any court or tribunal agreed upon by the parties or, failing such agreement within two weeks from the date of the request for provisional measures, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea or, with respect to activities in the Area, the Sea-Bed Disputes Chamber, may prescribe, modify or revoke provisional measures in accordance with this article if it considers that prima facie the tribunal which is to be constituted would have jurisdiction and that the urgency of the situation so requires. Once constituted, the tribunal to which the dispute has been submitted may modify, revoke or affirm those provisional measures, acting in conformity with paragraphs 1 to 4.
 6. The parties to the dispute shall comply promptly with any provisional measures prescribed under this article.
 Article 291 
 Access
 1. All the dispute settlement procedures specified in this Part shall be open to States Parties.
 2. The dispute settlement procedures specified in this Part shall be open to entities other than States Parties only as specifically provided for in this Convention.
 Article 292 
 Prompt release of vessels and crews
 1. Where the authorities of a State Party have detained a vessel  flying the nag of another State Party and it is alleged that the  detaining State has not complied with the provisions of this  Convention for the prompt release of the vessel or its crew upon the  posting of a reasonable bond or other financial security, the question  of release from detention may be submitted to any court or tribunal  agreed upon by the parties or, failing such agreement within 10 days  from the time of detention, to a court or tribunal accepted by the  detaining State under article 287 or to the International Tribunal for  the Law of the Sea, unless the parties otherwise agree.
 2. The application for release may be made only by or on behalf of the  flag State of the vessel.
 3. The court or tribunal shall deal without delay with the application  for release and shall deal only with the question of release, without  prejudice to the merits of any case before the appropriate domestic  forum against the vessel, its owner or its crew. The authorities of  the detaining State remain competent to release the vessel or its crew  at any time.
 4. Upon the posting of the bond or other financial security determined  by the court or tribunal, the authorities of the detaining State shall  comply promptly with the decision of the court or tribunal concerning  the release of the vessel or its crew.
 Article 293 
 Applicable law
 1. A court or tribunal having jurisdiction under this section shall  apply this Convention and other rules of international law not  incompatible with this Convention.
 2. Paragraph I does not prejudice the power of the court or tribunal  having jurisdiction under this section to decide a case ex aequo et  bono, if the parties so agree.
 Article 294 
 Preliminary proceedings
 1. A court or tribunal provided for in article 287 to which an  application is made in respect of a dispute referred to in article 297  shall determine at the request of a party, or may determine proprio  motu, whether the claim constitutes an abuse of legal process or  whether prima facie it is well founded. If the court or tribunal  determines that the claim constitutes an abuse of legal process or is  prima facie unfounded, it shall take no further action in the case.
 2. Upon receipt of the application, the court or tribunal shall  immediately notify the other party or parties of the application, and  shall fix a reasonable time-limit within which they may request it to  make a determination in accordance with paragraph 1.
 3. Nothing in this article affects the right of any party to a dispute  to make preliminary objections in accordance with the applicable rules  of procedure.
 Article 295 
 Exhaustion of local remedies
 Any dispute between States Parties concerning the interpretation or  application of this Convention may be submitted to the procedures  provided for in this section only after local remedies have been  exhausted where this is required by international law.
 Article 296 
 Finality and binding force of decisions
 1. Any decision rendered by a court or tribunal having jurisdiction  under this section shall be final and shall be complied with by all  the parties to the dispute.
 2. Any such decision shall have no binding force except between the 
 parties and in respect of that particular dispute.
 SECTION 3. LIMITATIONS AND EXCEPTIONS TO 
 APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 2
 Article 297 
 Limitations on applicability of section 2
 1. Disputes concerning the interpretation or application of this  Convention with regard to the exercise by a coastal State of its  sovereign rights or jurisdiction provided for in this Convention shall  be subject to the procedures provided for in section 2 in the  following cases:
 (a) when it is alleged that a coastal State has acted in contravention  of the provisions of this Convention in regard to the freedoms and  rights of navigation, overnight or the laying of submarine cables and  pipelines, or in regard to other internationally lawful uses of the  sea specified in article 58;
 (b) when it is alleged that a State in exercising the aforementioned  freedoms, rights or uses has acted in contravention of this Convention  or of laws or regulations adopted by the coastal State in conformity  with this Convention and other rules of international law not  incompatible with this Convention; or
 (c) when it is alleged that a coastal State has acted in contravention  of specified international rules and standards for the protection and  preservation of the marine environment which are applicable to the  coastal State and which have been established by this Convention or  through a competent international organization or diplomatic  conference in accordance with this Convention.
 2. (a) Disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the  provisions of this Convention with regard to marine scientific  research shall be settled in accordance with section 2, except that  the coastal State shall not be obliged to accept the submission to  such settlement of any dispute arising out of:
 (i) the exercise by the coastal State of a right or discretion in  accordance with article 246, or
 (ii) a decision by the coastal State to order suspension or cessation  of a research project in accordance with article 253.
 (b) A dispute arising from an allegation by the researching State that  with respect to a specific project the coastal State is not exercising  its rights under articles 246 and 253 in a manner compatible with this  Convention shall be submitted, at the request of either party, to  conciliation under Annex V, section 2, provided that the conciliation  commission shall not call in question the exercise by the coastal  State of its discretion to designate specific areas as referred to in  article 246, paragraph 6, or of its discretion to withhold consent in  accordance with article 246, paragraph 5.
 3. (a) Disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the  provisions of this Convention with regard to fisheries shall be  settled in accordance with section 2, except that the coastal State  shall not be obliged to accept the submission to such settlement of  any dispute relating to its sovereign rights with respect to the  living resources in the exclusive economic zone or their exercise,  including its discretionary powers for determining the allowable  catch, its harvesting capacity, the allocation of surpluses to other  States and the terms and conditions established in its conservation  and management laws and regulations.
 (b) Where no settlement has been reached by recourse to section I of  this Part, a dispute shall be submitted to conciliation under Annex V,  section 2, at the request of any party to the dispute, when it is  alleged that:
 (i) a coastal State has manifestly failed to comply with its  obligations to ensure through proper conservation and management  measures that the maintenance of the living resources in the exclusive  economic zone is not seriously endangered;
 (ii) a coastal State has arbitrarily refused to determine, at the  request of another State, the allowable catch and its capacity to  harvest living resources with respect to stocks which that other State  is interested in fishing; or
 (iii) a coastal State has arbitrarily refused to allocate to any  State, under articles 62, 69 and 70 and under the terms and conditions  established by the coastal State consistent with this Convention, the  whole or part of the surplus it has declared to exist.
 (c) In no case shall the conciliation commission substitute its  discretion for that of the coastal State.
 (d) The report of the conciliation commission shall be communicated to  the appropriate international organizations.
 (e) In negotiating agreements pursuant to articles 69 and 70, States  Parties, unless they otherwise agree, shall include a clause on  measures which they shall take in order to minimize the possibility of  a disagreement concerning the interpretation or application of the  agreement, and on how they should proceed if a disagreement  nevertheless arises.
 Article 298 
 Optional exceptions to applicability of section 2
 1. When signing, ratifying or acceding to this Convention or at any  time thereafter, a State may, without prejudice to the obligations  arising under section I, declare in writing that it does not accept  any one or more of the procedures provided for in section 2 with  respect to one or more of the following categories of disputes:
 (a) (i) disputes concerning the interpretation or application of  articles 15, 74 and 83 relating to sea boundary delimitations, or  those involving historic bays or titles, provided that a State having  made such a declaration shall, when such a dispute arises subsequent  to the entry into force of this Convention and where no agreement  within a reasonable period of time is reached in negotiations between  the parties, at the request of any party to the dispute, accept  submission of the matter to conciliation under Annex V, section 2; and  provided further that any dispute that necessarily involves the  concurrent consideration of any unsettled dispute concerning  sovereignty or other rights over continental or insular land territory  shall be excluded from such submission;
 (ii) after the conciliation commission has presented its report, which  shall state the reasons on which it is based, the parties shall  negotiate an agreement on the basis of that report; if these  negotiations do not result in an agreement, the parties shall, by  mutual consent, submit the question to one of the procedures provided  for in section 2, unless the parties otherwise agree;
 (iii) this subparagraph does not apply to any sea boundary dispute  finally settled by an arrangement between the parties, or to any such  dispute which is to be settled in accordance with a bilateral or  multilateral agreement binding upon those parties;
 (b) disputes concerning military activities, including military  activities by government vessels and aircraft engaged in non-  commercial service, and disputes concerning law enforcement activities  in regard to the exercise of sovereign rights or jurisdiction excluded  from the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal under article 297,  paragraph 2 or 3;
 (c) disputes in respect of which the Security Council of the United  Nations is exercising the functions assigned to it by the Charter of  the United Nations, unless the Security Council decides to remove the  matter from its agenda or calls upon the parties to settle it by the  means provided for in this Convention.
 2. A State Party which has made a declaration under paragraph I may at  any time withdraw it, or agree to submit a dispute excluded by such  declaration to any procedure specified in this Convention.
 3. A State Party which has made a declaration under paragraph I shall  not be entitled to submit any dispute falling within the excepted  category of disputes to any procedure in this Convention as against  another State Party, without the consent of that party.
 4. If one of the States Parties has made a declaration under paragraph  I (a), any other State Party may submit any dispute falling within an  excepted category against the declarant party to the procedure  specified in such declaration.
 5. A new declaration, or the withdrawal of a declaration, does not in  any way affect proceedings pending before a court or tribunal in  accordance with this article, unless the parties otherwise agree.
 6. Declarations and notices of withdrawal of declarations under this  article shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United  Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the States Parties.
 Article 299 
 Right of the parties to agree upon a procedure
 1. A dispute excluded under article 297 or excepted by a declaration  made under article 298 from the dispute settlement procedures provided  for in section 2 may be submitted to such procedures only by agreement  of the parties to the dispute.
 2. Nothing in this section impairs the right of the parties to the  dispute to agree to some other procedure for the settlement of such  dispute or to reach an amicable settlement.

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