International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

International Tribunal For The Law Of The Sea

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

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The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982. The Convention entered into force on November 16, 1994, and established an international framework for law over "all ocean space, its uses and resources". The Convention also established the International Seabed Authority, with responsibility for the regulation of seabed mining beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, that is beyond the limits of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone and the continental shelf.

The Tribunal has the power to settle disputes between states parties (there are currently 161: 160 states plus the European Union).


According to its founding statute, the Tribunal has a set of 21 serving judges from a variety of states parties in three primary bodies:
  • The Chamber of Summary Procedure
  • The Chamber for Fisheries Disputes
  • The Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes

In addition, at the request of Chile and the European Union, the Tribunal also set up a special chamber to deal with the case concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Union).

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is based in Hamburg, Germany.


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