The 1899 Convention
Title III. On
International Commissions of Inquiry
In differences of an international nature involving neither honor
nor vital interests, and arising from a difference of opinion on
points of fact, the Signatory Powers recommend that the parties, who
have not been able to come to an agreement by means of diplomacy,
should as far as circumstances allow, institute an International
Commission of Inquiry, to facilitate a solution of these differences
by elucidating the facts by means of an impartial and conscientious
The International Commissions of Inquiry are constituted by special
agreement between the parties in conflict.
The Convention for an inquiry defines the facts to be examined and
the extent of the Commissioners' powers.
It settles the procedure.
On the inquiry both sides must be heard.
The form and the periods to be observed, if not stated in the
inquiry Convention, are decided by the Commission itself.
The International Commissions of Inquiry are formed, unless
otherwise stipulated, in the manner fixed by Article 32 of the
The duties of Arbitrator may be conferred on one Arbitrator alone or
on several Arbitrators selected by the parties as they please, or
chosen by them from the members of the permanent Court of
Arbitration established by the present Act.
Failing the constitution of the Tribunal by direct agreement between
the parties, the following course shall be pursued:
Each party appoints two arbitrators, and these latter together
choose an Umpire.
In case of equal voting, the choice of the Umpire is instructed to a
third Power, selected by the parties by common accord.
If no agreement is arrived at on this subject, each party selects a
different Power, and the choice of the Umpire is made in concert by
the Powers thus selected
The powers in dispute engage to supply the International Commission
of Inquiry, as fully as they may think possible, with all means and
facilities necessary to enable it to be completely acquainted with
and to accurately understand the facts in question.
The International Commission of Inquiry communicates its Report to
the conflicting Powers, signed by all the members of the Commission.
The report of the International Commission of Inquiry is limited to
a statement of facts, and has in no way the character of an Arbitral
Award. It leaves the conflicting Powers entire freedom as to the
effect to be given to this statement.
The 1907 Convention
III. On International Commissions of Inquiry
In disputes of an international nature involving neither honour nor
vital interests, and arising from a difference of opinion on points
of facts, the Contracting Powers deem it expedient and desirable
that the parties who have not been able to come to an agreement by
means of diplomacy, should, as far as circumstances allow, institute
an International Commission of Inquiry, to facilitate a solution of
these disputes by elucidating the facts by means of an impartial and
International Commissions of Inquiry are constituted by special
agreement between the parties in dispute.
The Inquiry convention defines the facts to be examined; it
determines the mode and time in which the Commission is to be formed
and the extent of the powers of the Commissioners.
It also determines, if there is need, where the Commission is to
sit, and whether it may remove to another place, the language the
Commission shall use and the languages the use of which shall be
authorized before it, as well as the date on which each party must
deposit its statement of facts, and, generally speaking, all the
conditions upon which the parties have agreed.
If the parties consider it necessary to appoint Assessors, the
Convention of Inquiry shall determine the mode of their selection
and the extent of their powers.
If the Inquiry Convention has not determined where the Commission is
to sit, it will sit at The Hague.
The place of meeting, once fixed, cannot be altered by the
Commission except with the assent of the parties.
If the Inquiry Convention has not determined what languages are to
be employed, the question shall be decided by the Commission.
Unless an undertaking is made to the contrary, Commissions of
Inquiry shall be formed in the manner determined by Articles 45 and
57 of the present Convention.
When the Contracting Powers wish to have recourse to the Permanent
Court for the settlement of a difference which has arisen between
them, the Arbitrators called upon to form the Tribunal with
jurisdiction to decide this difference must be chosen from the
general list of Members of the Court.
Failing the direct agreement of the parties on the composition of
the Arbitration Tribunal, the following course shall be pursued:
Each party appoints two Arbitrators, of whom one only can be its
national or chosen from among the persons selected by it as Members
of the Permanent Court. These Arbitrators together choose an Umpire.
If the votes are equally divided, the choice of the Umpire is
intrusted to a third Power, selected by the parties by common
If an agreement is not arrived at on this subject each party selects
a different Power, and the choice of the Umpire is made in concert
by the Powers thus selected.
If, within two months' time, these two Powers cannot come to an
agreement, each of them presents two candidates taken from the list
of Members of the Permanent Court, exclusive of the members selected
by the parties and not being nationals of either of them. Drawing
lots determines which of the candidates thus presented shall be
The Umpire is President of the Tribunal ex officio.
When the Tribunal does not include an Umpire, it appoints its own
Should one of the Commissioners or one of the Assessors, should
there be any, either die, or resign, or be unable for any reason
whatever to discharge his functions, the same procedure is followed
for filling the vacancy as was followed for appointing him.
The parties are entitled to appoint special agents to attend the
Commission of Inquiry, whose duty it is to represent them and to act
as intermediaries between them and the Commission.
They are further authorized to engage counsel or advocates,
appointed by themselves, to state their case and uphold their
interests before the Commission.
The International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration acts
as registry for the Commissions which sit at The Hague, and shall
place its offices and staff at the disposal of the Contracting
Powers for the use of the Commission of Inquiry.
If the Commission meets elsewhere than at The Hague, it appoints a
Secretary-General, whose office serves as registry.
It is the function of the registry, under the control of the
President, to make the necessary arrangements for the sittings of
the Commission, the preparation of the Minutes, and, while the
inquiry lasts, for the charge of the archives, which shall
subsequently be transferred to the International Bureau at The
In order to facilitate the constitution and working of Commissions
of Inquiry, the Contracting Powers recommend the following rules,
which shall be applicable to the inquiry procedure in so far as the
parties do not adopt other rules.
The Commission shall settle the details of the procedure not covered
by the special Inquiry Convention or the present Convention, and
shall arrange all the formalities required for dealing with the
On the inquiry both sides must be heard.
At the dates fixed, each party communicates to the Commission and to
the other party the statements of facts, if any, and, in all cases,
the instruments, papers, and documents which it considers useful for
ascertaining the truth, as well as the list of witnesses and experts
whose evidence it wishes to be heard.
The Commission is entitled, with the assent of the Powers, to move
temporarily to any place where it considers it may be useful to have
recourse to this means of inquiry or to send one or more of its
members. Permission must be obtained from the State on whose
territory it is proposed to hold the inquiry.
Every investigation, and every examination of a locality, must be
made in the presence of the agents and counsel of the parties or
after they have been duly summoned.
The Commission is entitled to ask from either party for such
explanations and information as it considers necessary.
The parties undertake to supply the Commission of Inquiry, as fully
as they may think possible, with all means and facilities necessary
to enable it to become completely acquainted with, and to accurately
understand, the facts in question.
They undertake to make use of the means at their disposal, under
their municipal law, to insure the appearance of the witnesses or
experts who are in their territory and have been summoned before the
If the witnesses or experts are unable to appear before the
Commission, the parties will arrange for their evidence to be taken
before the qualified officials of their own country.
For all notices to be served by the Commission in the territory of a
third Contracting Power, the Commission shall apply direct to the
Government of the said Power. The same rule applies in the case of
steps being taken on the spot to procure evidence.
The requests for this purpose are to be executed so far as the means
at the disposal of the Power applied to under its municipal law
allow. They cannot be rejected unless the Power in question
considers they are calculated to impair its sovereign rights or its
The Commission will equally be always entitled to act through the
Power on whose territory it sits.
The witnesses and experts are summoned on the request of the parties
or by the Commission of its own motion, and, in every case, through
the Government of the State in whose territory they are.
The witnesses are heard in succession and separately in the presence
of the agents and counsel, and in the order fixed by the Commission.
The examination of witnesses is conducted by the President.
The members of the Commission may however put to each witness
questions which they consider likely to throw light on and complete
his evidence, or get information on any point concerning the witness
within the limits of what is necessary in order to get at the truth.
The agents and counsel of the parties may not interrupt the witness
when he is making his statement, nor put any direct question to him,
but they may ask the President to put such additional questions to
the witness as they think expedient.
The witness must give his evidence without being allowed to read any
written draft. He may, however, be permitted by the President to
consult notes or documents if the nature of the facts referred to
necessitates their employment.
A Minute of the evidence of the witness is drawn up forthwith and
read to the witness. The latter may make such alterations and
additions as he thinks necessary, which will be recorded at the end
of his statement.
When the whole of his statement has been read to the witness, he is
asked to sign it.
The agents are authorized, in the course of or at the close of the
inquiry, to present in writing to the Commission and to the other
party such statements, requisitions, or summaries of the facts as
they consider useful for ascertaining the truth.
The Commission considers its decisions in private and the
proceedings are secret.
All questions are decided by a majority of the members of the
If a member declines to vote, the fact must be recorded in the
The sittings of the Commission are not public, nor the Minutes and
documents connected with the inquiry published except in virtue of a
decision of the Commission taken with the consent of the parties.
After the parties have presented all the explanations and evidence,
and the witnesses have all been heard, the President declares the
inquiry terminated, and the Commission adjourns to deliberate and to
draw up its Report.
The Report is signed by all the members of the Commission.
If one of the members refuses to sign, the fact is mentioned; but
the validity of the Report is not affected.
The Report of the Commission is read at a public sitting, the agents
and counsel of the parties being present or duly summoned.
A copy of the Report is given to each party.
The Report of the Commission is limited to a statement of facts, and
has in no way the character of an Award. It leaves to the parties
entire freedom as to the effect to be given to the statement.
Each party pays its own expenses and an equal share of the expenses
incurred by the Commission.