Negatively it implies use of all methods of conflict resolution where there is no involvement of use of force. There are following methods of pacific settlement of international disputes.

(1) Negotiations:

It is the most simplest of all methods of peaceful settlement of international disputes. The provisions in Article 40 of the UN Charter also specifically focus on this aspect before taking help from the Security Council. However, it may not always result in resolving the conflict. As Schleicher points out “is one which may or may not result in binding action and whose effectiveness depends on their contribution to a meeting of mind”.

(2) Conciliation:

It implies settlement of disputes by referring them to a conciliator or a Commission. As Oppenheim observes “the process of settling a dispute by referring it to a commission or persons whose task is to elucidate the facts and proposals for settlement, but which does not have the binding character”. United Nations also used the instrument to resolve Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

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(3) Mediation:

It implies effort by a third state to resolve dispute between two states amicably.

Article 4 of the Hague Conference specifically mentions mediation as “reconciling the opposing claims and appeasing the feelings of resentment which may have arisen between the states at variance”. The art of mediation may be performed by a person or an institution. In 1947 the role played by United Nations Security in Indonesia was more than that of a negotiator.

(4) Enquiry:

It implies investigation by a third party into the competing claims of the states. But, the judgment is binding on the parties.

Its birth can be traced to Hague Conference (1899). This method has been used to resolve those international conflicts which were limited to facts. In 1931 League of Nations constituted little commission to enquire into disputes in Manchuria.

(5) Arbitration:

It refers to settlement of a dispute by an umpire, a commission or a tribunal (other than International Court of Justice) whose decisions are binding on the parties. As Oppenheim observes “Arbitration means the determination of a difference between states through a legal decision of one or more umpires or of a tribunal, other than the International Court of Justice chosen by the Parties”.

(6) Judicial Settlement or Adjudication:

It refers to a process of settlement of dispute by the International Court of Justice. Its judges are appointed by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It adjudicates on the principles of law, equality and justice. Its judgments are binding on the parties.

Some of the important examples are dispute between Britain and Palestine (1929), Germany and Poland (1927).

(7) Role of League of Nations and United Nations:

Covenant of the League mentioned various provisions relating to the pacific settlement of international disputes. Similarly UN Charter has also devised means by which disputes could be settled peacefully. Chapter 6 containing 6 Articles specifically deals with these aspects. Article 33 provides that “the parties to any dispute, the continuation of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their disputes by such means”. If the disputes are not resolved peacefully, the Security Council retains the power of imposing sanctions and military intervention.

II. Forceful Means: Forceful means of settlement of international disputes are used when the peaceful means fail to resolve the issues. According to Oppenheim “forceful means are those in which there is some element of force. One state uses it to ensure that the other state accept the terms of settlement”.

The forceful methods are as follows:

1. Counteraction:

Despite being a forceful means, it is not a means to damage the other state. For example, it includes severing political relations and ending other relations with the enemy. India has used this method against the racial policies of South Africa and anti-India activity promoted by Pakistan.

2. Retaliation:

According to Brailey it means “seizing property and person.” Though UN charter declares it to be an illegal method, most often states use it.

3. Peaceful Seizure:

This method is used by powerful states against the weaker ones through naval forces.

4. Intervention:

It means interference by a third party in dispute between two states. The interventionist state makes its recommen­dations binding on the parties in terms of its power. USA intervened in resolving crisis in Yugoslavia (1997) by resorting to this method.


UN Charter and Forceful Methods:

Chapter 7 of UN Charter specifically deals with the forceful methods. Section 39: Security Council can enquire into questions relating to international peace and security. Section 40, 41: Security Council can impose economic sanctions and recommend measures for severing diplomatic relations. Section 42: Authorizes use of army in settling disputes: There are various methods of conflict resolution in international politics. The international society has struggled to evolve effective mechanism to resolve conflicts.

Though peaceful and forceful means help in resolving and slackening the intensity of conflict, very often political stake of big powers malign the democratic norms. The arbitrary use of force by third party remains a hallmark of twentieth century. The issue of Gulf War (1990) and Iraq (2003) are eloquent testimony of big power hegemony. The international society must outline new mechanism which is genuinely fair and acceptable to the majority.