Article from: TDM 3 (2016), in Editorial
In the late 1800s, an international consensus emerged that wars now must become a phenomenon of the past. With the armed conflicts of the 19th century in fresh memory, states sought for alternatives. Attention turned to international arbitration as a key instrument to resolve conflicts peacefully, and to avoid war.
In 1899, at the initiative of Czar Nicholas II, states gathered for The Hague Peace Conference. The conference resulted in the signing of the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), housed in the Peace Palace in The Hague.
In Sweden, the author and politician Klas Pontus Arnoldson founded the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society. When Norway broke away from the union with Sweden in 1905, the Society was among the voices advocating a peaceful resolution of the dispute. In a volatile international climate, it was decided that future disputes between Sweden and Norway should be decided by arbitration. Klas Pontus Arnoldson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1909 for founding the Society.
Two world wars later - and following many more violent conflicts of different origin on all continents on our planet - states have yet to abandon the use of force to resolve their conflicts.
Does this mean that the optimists of the late 1800s were wrong about the potential of arbitration to achieve peaceful dispute resolution? Not really. Because in parallel with the wars and headline events of the past century, there is a different story to tell. This is the story of how international arbitration has been consistently used in complex geopolitical contexts to avoid the use of force. And successfully so.
The cases discussed in this special issue of TDM, and those included in the volume Arbitrating for Peace (to be published by Kluwer in January 2017), are part of this story. It is a story of optimism, courage and legal innovation, and it demonstrates that law and diplomacy have the capacity to solve complex international disputes. It is the story of how international arbitration has played, and continues to play, an instrumental role for peace. But it is also a story largely untold.
As former UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan writes in his foreword to Arbitrating for Peace:
"... peaceful resolution of disputes rarely makes the headlines. The use of the rule of law in pursuit of peace often takes place quietly, far away from the limelight. The heroes involved; the men and women who make substantial contributions and advance peace in their capacities as brave political leaders, engaged legal specialists and wise adjudicators of integrity, receive little praise in international media. Their success remains relatively unknown."
This needs to change. At the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), we thought that the SCC centennial celebration in 2017 represented a good opportunity to highlight what international arbitration has done for the global good. The public debate today, not least in the wake of FTA negotiations, demonstrates a gulf of misunderstandings. It needs to be bridged, or we all stand to lose.
Against this background, the SCC began planning the publication of Arbitrating for Peace in 2014. A writing competition was announced for one of the book's chapters. The competition attracted many talented young professionals from all over the world. Finally, Ms. R. Jade Harry was announced as the winner, and her chapter on the Brčko Arbitration will be included in the book.
However, as editors, we found that publishing only one of the many high-quality submissions that we had received did not seem enough. It was therefore decided, with the kind co-operation of the TDM editorial team, that the runner-up submissions that did not make it into the book would be published in this special issue of TDM.
These well researched and written texts by skilled members of a new generation of lawyers all represent important pieces of a story that needs to be told. It stretches over centuries and continents; from the San Juan Boundary Dispute in North America in mid 1800s, to the conflict over Venezuela's claims at the turn of the last century, and the Delagoa Railway Arbitration in Africa (1900), and finally the recent Malaysia-Singapore Railway Arbitration concluded in 2015.
The power of arbitration to resolve complex international disputes will also be the topic of a symposium in Stockholm on 20 January 2017 on the occasion of the SCC Centennial Celebrations. We hope you will be able to join us in at this event to manifest the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes.
Earlier this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon concluded his keynote speech at the ICCA Congress with the following words:
"I ask all of you to use the great power of arbitration to help the world overcome conflict and hatred and build a future of dignity for all on a healthy planet."
Together, we can do just that.
Stockholm, July 2016
SCC Secretary General
 A fifth runner-up text, discussing a dispute under the Jay Treaty, will be published elsewhere as the author decided to continue working on the text.