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The jurisdiction of the commissions is purely voluntary, is defined by the Inquiry Convention, and is strictly limited to questions of fact. Article 14 of the 1899 Convention provides that “the Report of the Commission … 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.” Article 35 of the 1907 Convention has an analogous provision. In addition, Article 9 of both Conventions recommends that international commissions of inquiry shall be instituted in respect of the 'differences of an international nature involving neither honor nor vital interests.' Also, the commission has no jurisdiction to issue orders requiring the appearance of witnesses or experts, instead it always has to act through the government on whose territory the respective person is located. Similarly, if the commission chooses to visit some location in respect of its proceedings it can do so only with the prior consent of the parties and that of the local government.

See 'documents' for general comments on the 1997 Optional Rules.
In terms of jurisdictional issues, the 1997 Rules are no longer open solely to the signatories to the 1899 & 1907 Conventions.
The Report and supporting documents can be disclosed if it is required by the legislation of the member-state. In addition, the 1997 Rules provide that parties can agree that the report of the Commission will be binding on them.

   
         
   
   
         
         
         
   

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