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Permanent Court of Arbitration

PCA is an intergovernmental organization established by treaty at the First Hague Peace Conference, Netherland in 1899. It is not a court in the traditional sense, but a permanent framework for arbitral tribunals constituted to resolve specific disputes. PCA seeks to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution involving various combinations of states, state entities, international organizations and private parties.

 It was the first permanent intergovernmental organization that provided a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means. The Permanent Court of Arbitration is the oldest global institution for the settlement of international disputes. The Court offers a wide range of services for the resolution of international disputes which the parties concerned have expressly agreed to submit for resolution under its auspices.

The PCA is not a court, but rather an organizer of arbitral tribunals to resolve conflicts between member states, international organizations, or private parties. The PCA also administers cases under the arbitration rules of the UNCITRAL.

What are the matters generally includes in the PCA?

It is not a court and does not have permanent judges. The PCA is a permanent bureaucracy that assists temporary tribunals to resolve disputes among states (and similar entities), intergovernmental organizations, or even private parties arising out of international agreements.

The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.

What are the methods to solve the case?

The sessions of the Permanent Court of Arbitration are held in private and are confidential. The Court also provides arbitration in disputes between international organizations and between states and international organizations.

All decisions, called "awards" are binding on all the parties in the dispute and have to be carried out without delay.  There are some post-award proceedings available to parties unhappy with the tribunal's decision, but they are limited, particularly in inter-state disputes. 

Who are members of PCA?

Parties to the Convention on the Pacific Settlement of disputes of 1899 (71 member states) and 1907 (101 member states) are automatically parties to the PCA. As 51 are parties to both conventions, the PCA has 121 member states: 119 members of the United Nations, as well as Kosovo and Palestine.

India is a party of the PCA according to the Hague Convention on 1899.

Which are the important cases related to India in PCA?

An Italian marine accused of killing two Indian fishermen:

Two Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Mr. Girone are facing the charge of murdering 2 Indian fishermen in 2012 off the Kerala coast. The fishermen were killed when the marines on duty aboard MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged oil tanker, fired at them. The order is binding for both countries as there is no appeal process in the UN tribunal. For his return to his homeland, the tribunal has suggested conditions such as Girone surrendering his passport so that he doesn’t travel abroad and reporting his presence to an Italian authority designated by the Indian top court.

• Rules against “Antrix”:

In 2005, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) commercial arm Antrix Corporation entered into an agreement with Devas to lease out satellite spectrum which the Bangalore-based company could use to provide high-quality telephony and Internet services. The deal involved Antrix committing to manufacturing and launching two ISRO satellites and then leasing nearly 70 MHz of S-band satellite spectrum to Devas for a period of 12 years. In return, Devas committed to paying upfront fees of a little over $30 million. In 2011 however, a leaked draft audit report noted that there were potentially a number of irregularities in the agreement including conflict of interest, favouritism, financial mismanagement and non-compliance of standard operating procedures.

An international tribunal in The Hague has ruled against the Indian government over the cancellation of a contract between telecommunications firm Devas Multimedia and Antrix Corporation Ltd., in a decision that could cost the Centre billions of dollars in damages.