The resolution of international disputes can take a variety of forms. On one end, there is the informal process of negotiation and diplomacy. At the other extreme end is armed conflict and war. One middle of the road approach to dispute resolution involves international claims commissions and tribunals. Such commissions are usually established by agreement of the parties involved in the dispute. The commissions are established for the specific purpose of resolving a designated problem or set of claims. Such commissions may be set up to avoid further escalation of a dispute and they may be set up following a war to handle claims regarding a dispute that already escalated too far.
There are many claims commissions, including the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, the United Nations Compensation Commission, and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission.
Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal
The Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal was established following the hostage crisis of 1979. The Tribunal provided binding third-party arbitration of claims that U.S. citizens had against the government of Iran and Iranian citizens resulting from wrongful death and other damages incurred during the hostage crisis.
United Nations Compensation Commission
The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) was created in 1991 as an organ of the United Nations Security Council. The commission was established to hear claims for losses occurring as a result of Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Successful claims are paid out of a fund established from profits from sales of Iraqi oil.
Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission
The Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission was set up in 2000 to handle claims arising out of the conflict between these two African nations. The Commission has jurisdiction to hear claims brought by the governments or any citizen of either country for damages or for violations of international humanitarian law.
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