Malaysia applies for revision of ICJ's Pedra Branca decision; Singapore studying application

Malaysia applies for revision of ICJ's Pedra Branca decision; Singapore studying application

The government of Malaysia has filed an application for the revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgement over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

SINGAPORE: Singapore is studying Malaysia's application for a revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgement over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday (Feb 3). It added that a legal team has been formed to respond to the application.

An MFA spokesman said that the Malaysian government has informed Singapore of its application.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca, while Middle Rocks was awarded to Malaysia and South Ledge belonged to the state in whose territorial waters it is located.

Pedra Branca map

(Source: Singapore Memorial submitted to the ICJ)

Malaysia's Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali filed the application with the ICJ at The Hague on Thursday.

The application was made "upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which fact was, when the judgement was given, unknown to the court and also to Malaysia as the party claiming revision," the Attorney-General said in a statement on Friday.

"We are also confident that the requirements as stipulated under Article 61 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice have been met in that, inter alia, the application for revision is brought within six months of the discovery of the new fact, and within ten years of the date of the judgement," he added.

He said Malaysia's application for a revision of the judgement was a continuation of the process embarked on May 9, 2003 by both Malaysia and Singapore, when both nations agreed to submit the dispute pertaining to sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge to the ICJ ("Special Agreement").

Mohamed Apandi said the discovery of the new fact was important and should be ventilated in a court of law accordingly.

"Thus, as agreed by both parties in the Special Agreement, the International Court of Justice is the appropriate forum for this," he said.

SINGAPORE FORMS LEGAL TEAM

A spokesman for Singapore's MFA said that "Singapore is studying Malaysia's application and documentation closely and has formed its legal team to respond to Malaysia's application".

It added that Singapore's legal team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, Professor S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

Three of them were part of the original team that represented Singapore at the ICJ. Professor Jayakumar, who was Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law at the time, presented oral arguments before the court. Professor Koh and and former chief justice Chan also played leading roles in the case.

singapore's legal team at the hague

Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh, Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, and Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong at the ICJ in May 2008. (Photo: AFP/Rob Keeris)

Malaysia's statement on Friday did not disclose details of the "new facts" that were discovered. But the dispute over the ownership of Pedra Branca dates back to 1979, when Malaysia published a map indicating that the island was within the country’s territorial waters.

Singapore lodged a formal protest with Malaysia in early 1980.

It took more than 20 years from the time the dispute arose for the case to be brought before the ICJ in 2003.

Source: CNA/Bernama/nc/gs

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