International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
for the Law of the Sea
Tribunal international du
droit de la mer (French)
|Judges from||21 nations|
• Vice President
|David Joseph Attard|
• UNCLOS adopted
|10 December 1982|
• UNCLOS in force
|16 November 1994|
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 ITLOS is one of four dispute resolution mechanisms listed at Article 287 of the UNCLOS.
The tribunal is based in Hamburg, Germany. 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. There are currently 168 signatories, 167 states plus the European Union. As of 2012, holdouts included the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to its founding statute, the Tribunal has a set of 21 judges who serve from a variety of states parties, "according to a method that intends to assure an equitable geographical representation".
At the request of Chile and the European Union, the Tribunal set up a special chamber composed of 5 judges to deal with the Case concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Community).
By agreement of the parties Ghana and Ivory Coast, the Tribunal formed a special chamber composed of 5 judges to deal with the Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d'Ivoire).
By agreement of the parties Mauritius and Maldives, the Tribunal formed a special chamber of 7 permanent judges and 2 ad hoc judges to deal with the Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives).
Following a Reagan administration decision, the United States remained a holdout until at least 2012. Some concern was expressed in 2012 over the potential of the ITLOS to enforce its decisions related to greenhouse gas emissions.
Iran are not signatories of UNCLOS and the only legal forum is ITLOS, but Iran would either not participate or would ignore any ruling in any event.
|Senegal||Tafsir Malick Ndiaye||1996|
|Cape Verde||José Luis Jesus||1999||2008–2011|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Anthony Amos Lucky||2003|
|Tanzania||James L. Kateka||2005|
|South Africa||Albert J.Hoffmann||2005||2011–2014|
|South Korea||Jin-Hyun Paik||2009||2017-|
|Malta||David Joseph Attard||2011||2017-|
|Ukraine||Markiyan Z. Kulyk||2011|
|Mexico||Alonso Gómez-Robledo Verduzco||2014|
|Paraguay||Óscar Cabello Sarubbi||2017|
On August 24, 2020, the Chinese ambassador to Hungary, Duan Jielong, was elected a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
|United Kingdom||David Heywood Anderson||1996||2005|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Lennox Fitzroy Ballah||2002||2003|
|Cameroon||Paul Bamela Engo||1996||2008|
|Brazil||Antonio Cachapuz de Medeiros||2016||2016|
|India||P. Chandrasekhara Rao||1996||2017|
|Russia||Vladimir Vladimirovich Golitsyn||2008||2017|
|Russia||Anatoly Lazarevich Kolodkin||1996||2008|
|Belize||Edward Arthur Laing||1996||2001|
|Brazil||Vicente Marotta Rangel||1996||2015|
|Ghana||Thomas A. Mensah||1996||2005|
|South Korea||Choon-Ho Park||1996||2008|
|Tanzania||Joseph Sinde Warioba||1996||2008|
|Tunisia||Mohamed Mouldi Marsit||1996||2005|
|Grenada||L. Dolliver M. Nelson||1996||2014|
|No.||Name||Applicant||Respondent||Case began||Case ended||Disposition|
|1||The M/V "Saiga" Case||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Guinea||13 November 1997||4 December 1997||Judgment on prompt release|
|2||The M/V "Saiga" (No. 2) Case||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Guinea||13 January 1998||1 July 1999||Judgment on merits|
|3||Southern Bluefin Tuna Cases||New Zealand||Japan||30 July 1999||27 August 1999||Order on provisional measures|
|5||The "Camouco" Case||Panama||France||17 January 2000||7 February 2000||Judgment on prompt release|
|6||The "Monte Confurco" Case||Seychelles||France||27 November 2000||18 December 2000||Judgment on prompt release|
|7||Case concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean||Chile / European Union[A]||19 December 2000||16 December 2009||Terminated at request of parties|
|8||The "Grand Prince" Case||Belize||France||21 March 2001||20 April 2001||Judgment on prompt release|
|9||The "Chaisiri Reefer 2" Case||Panama||Yemen||3 July 2001||13 July 2001||Terminated at request of parties|
|10||The MOX Plant Case||Ireland||United Kingdom||9 November 2001||3 December 2001||Order on provisional measures|
|11||The "Volga" Case||Russia||Australia||2 December 2002||23 December 2002||Judgment on prompt release|
|12||Case concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and Around the Straits of Johor||Malaysia||Singapore||5 September 2003||8 October 2003||Order on provisional measures|
|13||The "Juno Trader" Case||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Guinea-Bissau||18 November 2004||18 December 2004||Judgment on prompt release|
|14||The "Hoshinmaru" Case||Japan||Russia||6 July 2007||6 August 2007||Judgment on prompt release|
|15||The "Tomimaru" Case||Japan||Russia||6 July 2007||6 August 2007||Judgment on prompt release|
|16||Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal||Bangladesh / Myanmar||14 December 2009||14 March 2012||Judgment on merits|
|17||Responsibilities and Obligations of States Sponsoring Persons and Entities with Respect to Activities in the Area||International Seabed Authority||14 May 2010||1 February 2011||Advisory opinion|
|18||The M/V "Louisa" Case||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Spain||24 November 2010||28 May 2013||Judgment on merits|
|19||The M/V "Virginia G" Case||Panama / Guinea-Bissau||4 July 2011||14 April 2014||Judgment on merits|
|20||The "ARA Libertad" Case||Argentina||Ghana||14 November 2012||15 December 2012||Order on provisional measures|
|21||Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC)||Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission||28 March 2013||2 April 2015||Advisory opinion|
|22||The "Arctic Sunrise" Case||Netherlands||Russia||21 October 2013||22 November 2013||Order on provisional measures|
|23||Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean||Ghana / Ivory Coast||3 December 2014||23 September 2017||Judgment on merits|
|24||The "Enrica Lexie" Incident||Italy||India||21 July 2015||24 August 2015||Order on provisional measures|
|25||The M/V "Norstar" Case||Panama||Italy||17 December 2015||10 April 2019||Judgment on merits|
|26||Case concerning the Detention of Three Ukrainian Naval Vessels||Ukraine||Russia||16 April 2019||25 May 2019||Order on provisional measures|
|27||The M/T "San Padre Pio" Case||Switzerland||Nigeria||21 May 2019||6 July 2019||Order on provisional measures|
|28||Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean||Mauritius / Maldives||24 September 2019||Ongoing|
|29||The M/T "San Padre Pio" (No. 2) Case||Switzerland / Nigeria||17 December 2019||Ongoing|
- SM Mitchell; EJ Powell. "Forum Shopping for the Best Adjudicator: Conflict Management and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos)" (PDF). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. American Political Science Association.
- Groves, Steven (12 March 2012). "Accession to U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Would Expose the U.S. to Baseless Climate Change Lawsuits". The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
- "Iran strikes in Strait of Hormuz as Middle East tanker tensions explode". Trade Winds. 22 July 2019.
- García-Revillo, Miguel G. (2016). "3. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)". Yearbook of International Environmental Law. 27: 424–426. doi:10.1093/yiel/yvx077.
- huaxia. "Chinese diplomat elected member of int'l tribunal for law of the sea". Xinhua Net. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.