The Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, which is based in Geneva, provides a mechanism for the peaceful settlement of disputes (PSD) between States.
The Court was established in 1995 by the Convention on Conciliation and Arbitration followed by meetings on PSD in Montreux (1978), Athens (1984), La Valletta (1991) and Geneva (1992). Thirty-three States are currently Parties to the Convention.
The Court's mandate is to settle, by means of conciliation or arbitration, the disputes between States submitted to it. This may include, for instance, conflicts in respect of territorial integrity, maritime delimitation, and environmental and economic issues. The conciliation commissions and arbitral tribunals are created by the Court on an ad hoc basis. Consequently, the Court is not a permanent body.
The main mechanism offered by the Convention is conciliation, which aims at proposing terms of settlement to the States Parties to a dispute. This mechanism can be activated either unilaterally or by all States Parties to the dispute. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the conciliation commission presents a report and recommendations to the Parties. The Parties then have thirty days to decide whether they accept the latter or not. If no agreement is forthcoming within that period and if the parties have agreed to submit to arbitration - and only then - an ad hoc arbitral tribunal may be set up whose ruling will be legally binding on the Parties.
The Court is composed of recognized experts in the field of international law who are appointed by the States Parties to the Convention. The conciliators and arbitrators are headed by a Bureau, currently chaired by Christian Tomuschat, President of the Court.