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(in international law) An attempt to discover the facts surrounding an international incident that is the subject of a dispute between two or more parties by means of an impartial investigative body. Such an investigation is intended to promote a successful resolution of the dispute. In treaty law each of the Bryan Treaties and a number of other treaties between South and Central American states provided for the establishment of permanent commissions of inquiry. In 1967 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the institution of such impartial fact-finding and requested the Secretary-General to establish a register of experts whose services could be used by states in specific disputes. Perhaps the most famous example of an inquiry was that following the Dogger Bank incident of 1904, which involved the accidental sinking of British fishing boats by the Russian Baltic fleet. See also conciliation; good offices; mediation.

Subjects: Law.

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