International Disputes Settlement Mechanisms
An examination of nature of disputes and the intersection of diplomatic and legal mechanisms
Disputes are an inevitable part of the international system necessitating the existence of international dispute settlement mechanisms. The different strands of realism and liberalism theories in international relations provide for the theoretical frameworks for understanding the factors, actors and motivations behind these disputes. Generally, all states have the options to use force or adopt peaceful ways to settle disputes. Although the use of force is prohibited in international law according to the UN charter, there are at least a few instances where the use of force can be justified. However, the United Nations through its charter encourages peaceful settlement of disputes. The international law provides for a measure of a regulated and predictable environment, principles and guidelines for peaceful settlement of disputes. These mechanisms are either legally or non-legally binding also known as legal and diplomatic mechanisms respectively. These mechanisms serve as range of measures along continuum of dispute settlement process and alternatives at times but also as complementary processes that are capable of running concurrently. For instance, while parties would prefer diplomatic means before engaging in formal litigations, diplomatic endeavors may progress, inform or serve as a conclusion to a litigation progress.