Singapore files written observations on Malaysia's request for interpretation of ICJ Pedra Branca judgment

Singapore files written observations on Malaysia's request for interpretation of ICJ Pedra Branca judgment

SINGAPORE: Singapore has filed its written observations on Malaysia's request for the interpretation of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) judgment in the case concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 31).

Filed on Monday, Singapore's written observations are a "comprehensive rebuttal" to Malaysia's request for interpretation of the ICJ's May 23, 2008 judgment, said MFA."Singapore is confident of its case and its legal team," it added.

"After the written proceedings, the next step is for the parties to present their oral arguments after the ICJ has fixed the schedule for the oral proceedings."

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

Malaysia filed an application requesting interpretation of the ICJ judgment on Jun 30 this year.

Malaysia has indicated in its new application that “the parties have been unable to agree on the meaning and/or scope” of the following two points of the 2008 judgment:

(1) the Court’s finding that “sovereignty over Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore’; and

(2) the Court’s finding that ‘sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located’”.

This is "separate and autonomous” from an application in February seeking revision of the ICJ judgment, Malaysia said.

Pedra Branca illustration

Malaysia had separately applied to revise the ICJ judgment on Feb 2 this year, claiming to have found “a new fact” unearthed from three documents discovered in the National Archives of the United Kingdom between Aug 4, 2016 and Jan 30, 2017.

"We hope that Malaysia’s interpretation request and its earlier revision application can be resolved as soon as possible, so that both countries can focus on strengthening our bilateral ties," Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post.

SINGAPORE CHOOSES JUDGE AD HOC

In addition to filing its written observations, Singapore has also chosen Judge Gilbert Guillaume to sit as judge ad hoc for the purposes of Malaysia’s request for interpretation of the ICJ’s judgment, said MFA.

The ministry said this is in accordance with the Statute of the ICJ which provides that a party may choose a judge ad hoc who will take part in the decision of the case, if there is no judge of the nationality of that party on the bench of the court.

A member of the ICJ from 1987 to 2005, Judge Guillaume also served as its president from 2000 to 2003. He is currently a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

He was also chosen by Singapore as judge ad hoc for the purposes of Malaysia's separate application to revise the ICJ judgment. 

Source: CNA/nc

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