When the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was founded just over a century ago the practice of referring disputes to international tribunals was un- usual. Instead, arbitration, with its procedural emphasis on party-autonomy, was seen as the only acceptable way for sovereign states to settle their differences peacefully. War and neutrality, as Professor Shabtai Rosenne explains in his in- troduction to this most welcome publication of extracts from the proceedings of the International Peace Conferences, were regarded as inevitable realities of in- ternational relations as late as the mid-twentieth century. Moreover, a perma- nent tribunal with international jurisdiction would not have stood much chance of either success, or survival, at the end ofthe nineteenth century. The First International Peace Conference in 1899 adopted the 1899 Conven- tion for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, the objectives of which were international disarmament and the strengthening of international dispute settlement as an alternative to war. The 1899 Convention alsocreated the PCA in an effort to institutionalize dispute resolution through a third party mechanism.
Publisher: T.M.C. Asser Press