China has been aggressively trolling the five judges of the Tribunal without let-up, calling them names, casting doubt on their credentials and dismissing their imminent collective ruling as ‘garbage’.
Altogether, the judges combine nearly two centuries worth of legal knowledge. However, this ruling can still make or break them.
In other words, the judges’ individual, professional reputation is on the line with this decision.
Even as I write this, their deed is done. The only thing left to do is to spell check their ruling, lay it out and get it ready for uploading in 24 hours.
While the conflict has obtained a lot of media mileage, there have been few write-ups on the judges themselves who seem to be mostly legal scholars born before the Second World War or immediately afterward.
They have seen how nations went to war over disputes and how they tried to settle differences through negotiations or arbitration.
I asked my brother-in-law, a retired De la Salle University professor of international studies, to write for me something about the five judges: who they are, what they have done in life and what they have contributed to dispute settlements.
He accepted the challenge because it was in familiar territory. My bro-in-law studied in Spain for two years, in France for seven years at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris or Sciences Po (where he finished his Master of Arts), at L’Université de Paris (where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in International Studies & European Studies); and in Syracuse University in New York (where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science).
Here is what he found out about the five judges.
For instance, two of the judges – Pawlak and Wolfrum – have co-written a paper on maritime boundary delimitation, which is one of the issues raised by the Philippines in its suit. In addition, Wolfrum has lectured as well as written on the “Means of Ensuring Compliance with and Enforcement of International Law”. A third judge, Dutch professor Soons, has lectured on enforcing jurisdiction at sea – again an issue highly relevant to the Philippine case. Soons has also published a paper on “Artificial islands and Installations in International Law” – knowledge that would have proven useful while tackling China’s recent artificial islands construction.
Some netizens have insinuated that the head of the tribunal, Judge Mensah, may be swayed by the fact that his country Ghana is a recipient of much Chinese aid. However, the fact that Judge Mensah turned down a request from a Chinese official for a meeting and then disclosed it, does speak volumes.
The decision could run to several hundred pages and is supposed to be released by 5 P.M. tomorrow, Manila time. — raissa
Meet the 5 Judges in the South China Sea arbitral court
By Dr. Alfredo C. Robles, Jr.
Faced with an intense Chinese lobby, the conduct of the Tribunal hearing the Philippine suit on south China Sea underscores the importance of the selection of judges in international arbitration.
Such arbitration is defined by the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes as “the settlement of disputes between States by Judges of their own choice and on the basis of respect for law.” This means, countries that opt for arbitration appoint their own judges to be the arbiters.
The Philippines, in its Notification and Statement of Claim of 22 January 2013, appointed Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum, a German national.
As intended “other party” in the dispute, China was also supposed to have appointed its own judge. However, in view of China’s refusal to participate in the arbitration, the Philippines requested the President of ITLOS (the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea), Shunji Yanai, on 22 February 2013 to appoint one in China’s place. The President appointed Judge Stanislas Pawlak, a Polish national.
The three remaining arbitrators were appointed by the ITLOS President following a Philippine request on 25 March 2013. They were: Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Alfred H. Soons of the Netherlands, and Moragodage Christopher Walter Pinto of Sri Lanka.
Pinto, who was Chairman of the Sri Lankan delegation to the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (1974-82) and Chairman of the Conference’s Negotiating Group on the Seabed beyond national jurisdiction, was also appointed as the Tribunal’s president. On 6 May 2013, Pinto resigned as member and president, citing the fact that his wife was a Filipina. To replace him, the ITLOS President appointed Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana in June.
The five judges that comprise the arbitral tribunal hearing the case brought by the Philippines have in common several things. They all have advanced degrees (a minimum of a doctorate). They all have academic experience. They all have scholarly publications. And they all have professional experience, averaging 30 years, as national or international civil servants, and as international lawyers and judges.
Now, I want to share with you all what I have found out about the judges. The phrases highlighted in blue pertain to links that I found on the Internet.
The President of the Tribunal: Judge Thomas A. Mensah
Judge Mensa was born in Kumasi, Ghana on 12 May 1932.
He obtained a BA at the University of Ghana in 1956; an LLB at the University of London in 1959; an LLM (Legum Magister, “Master of Laws) and a JSD (Juris Scientiae Doctor, Doctor of Juridical Science) at Yale University in 1962 and 1964, respectively.
B. Academic Experience
He taught law at the University of Ghana from 1963 to 1968, serving as Dean of the Faculty of Law in 1967-68. He was a Professor at the World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden (1981-90); a Visiting Professor at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands (1994); and Professor of Law and Director of the Law of the Sea Institute at the William S Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii (1993-95).
Judge Mensah is the author of articles, monographs and papers in the field of public international law, law of the sea, maritime law and international environmental law. One of his articles that I have actually read is “L’activité réglementaire de l’OMCI (The Regulatory Activity of the IMCO)”, co-authored with Christopher H. Zimmerli, presented at an annual meeting of the Société Française pour le Droit International (French Society for International Law) and published in the proceedings of the meeting, L’élaboration du droit international .
The proceedings of the SFDI constitute an invaluable resource on the state of the art of the topic chosen for that meeting. You may read Judge Mensah’s article entitled “Provisional Measures in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)” by clicking here.
D. Professional Experience
Judge Mensah was Associate Legal Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna (1965-1966), before joining the IMCO (International Maritime Consultative Organization, now the IMO, International Organization) as Head of the Organization’s Legal Division, in London. He became Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations in 1976, and was appointed Assistant Secretary General in 1981. After 22 years of service, he took early retirement in 1990.
But his career did not end there. He continued his career as an international civil servant, as a Special Advisor on Environmental Law and Institutions of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is based in Nairobi, Kenya (1991-92). From 1999 to 2005, he was Chairman of the “F4” (Environmental) Panel of Commissioners of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) to consider claims submitted by several governments for compensation for environmental damage resulting from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990.
He briefly served his government as the first High Commissioner (the term used for “Ambassador” among members of the British Commonwealth) of Ghana to the Republic of South Africa in 1995, a year after the end of the apartheid regime.
His “retirement” is characterized by a brilliant career as international judge. He was elected as a Judge of the newly created International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for a nine-year term on 1 August 1996, at the fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, held in New York. In October 1996, he was elected the first President of the Tribunal, for a three-year term. During his term as President, the Tribunal decided its first four cases and adopted its internal judicial practice. After the expiry of his term as President, he continued as a judge until 2005.
We cannot appreciate the significance of Judge Mensah’s election to ITLOS and his election as its first President without a brief explanation of ITLOS and the role of its President. ITLOS is composed of 21 independent members. It is an independent judicial body established by the 1982 Convention to settle disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention, with its 320 articles and 9 annexes. ITLOS is the main procedural innovation in dispute settlement established by the 1982 Convention.
The functions of the President are crucial in the Tribunal’s internal practice. After the two states parties to a dispute have submitted their arguments in written form, the President, on the basis of the written submissions (which may very easily run into thousands of pages) and written notes by the 20 other judges, prepares a working paper in which he/she summarizes the facts and the theses of the parties and makes proposals to the other judges concerning indications or questions to be put to the parties and evidence or explanations to be requested from them during the oral proceedings.
Before the oral proceedings, he/she presides over a private meeting of the Tribunal. During the oral proceedings he/she may convene meetings of the Tribunal for exchanges of views. After the oral proceedings, he/she presides over deliberations of the Tribunal and “may seek to establish a majority opinion as it appears then to exist on each issue and on the reasons to be given.”
If a majority has not yet emerged at this time, the judges prepare written notes and discuss them in the course of further deliberations. If he/she shares the views of the majority, the President is ex officio a member of the Drafting Committee, which prepares two drafts of the judgment.
The other four members of the Committee are elected upon the President’s proposal. The President then presides over two readings of the second draft, after which the judges vote on the judgment. We can thus say that the position of ITLOS President is far from being a sinecure.
After having served as ITLOS Judge and President, Judge Mensah has been appointed judge ad hoc in three disputes submitted to ITLOS:
♦ The Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar), (2009-12, appointed by Bangladesh);
♦ The “ARA Libertad” Case (Argentina v. Ghana), Provisional Measures (2011); and
♦ The Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire), (initiated in 2014).
In the last two cases, he was appointed by his country.
In the last 15 years, Judge Mensah has been appointed president of several arbitral tribunals constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 Convention:
The MOX Plant Case, initiated in 2001 by Ireland against the United Kingdom (“MOX Plant Case”);
The Atlanto-Scandian Herring Arbitration (The Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands v. The European Union), (2013-14), (Judge Wolfrum was also a member of this Tribunal); and
The Arctic Sunrise Arbitration (Netherlands v. Russia).
This last case concerned the boarding and detention of the vessel Arctic Sunrise, belonging to Greenpeace and registered in the Netherlands, in the exclusive economic zone of Russia and the detention of the persons on board the vessel by the Russian authorities.
Initiated in October 2013, nine months after the commencement of the Philippines v. China arbitration, the case is interesting, because of two procedural similarities with the Philippines v. China case. The respondent state (in this case Russia) also refused to appear before the Tribunal and the procedure was bifurcated. However, it was the applicant state (the Netherlands) that took the initiative to request bifurcation. (This means splitting the procedure into two. The first one is jurisdiction and admissibility and the second one, the merits or substance of the issues.)
Another difference is that the Tribunal decided not to hold a hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility. The Tribunal rendered its award on jurisdiction on 26 November 2014, a little over two months after the Netherlands submitted its Memorial and a mere five days after its Procedural Order announcing that it would rule on jurisdiction without holding a hearing.
The award on the merits was issued in August 2015, nine months after the award on jurisdiction. Differences in the complexity of the legal issues concerned may explain why the proceedings in this case were concluded in approximately two years.
Finally, Judge Mensah was appointed Judge ad hoc by Nicaragua in the Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia) . A judge ad hoc is appointed by a party to a case before the International Court of Justice that does not have a judge of its nationality on the Court, but he/she does not have to be a national of the country appointing him/her. The appointment as a judge ad hoc is thus a recognition of and tribute to the competence of the person concerned. The judge ad hoc only hears the case for which he/she is appointed and ceases to be a member of the Court when a judgment on the case is issued. Interestingly enough, in the said case, Judge Cot was the judge ad hoc appointed by the other party, Colombia.
Member of the Tribunal: Judge Jean-Pierre Cot
(Here’s how to pronounce his first name and last name.)
Judge Cot, a French national, was born on 23 October 1937 in Geneva.
He studied for his licence , the first degree in French higher education, and his doctorate in law at the University of Paris (1955-65). He passed the agrégation, an extremely competitive national examination for university professors in law, political science, economics and management, in 1966.
B. Academic Experience
He was a lecturer in law at the University of Paris from 1962 to 1966. After passing the agrégation he became Professor in the Faculty of Law at the Université d’Amiens in 1966. In 1969, he moved to the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), where he was professor of international law and political sociology until 1981, and then from 1982 to 1998. He has been an Associate Research Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels) since 1999.
Judge Cot is the author of numerous books and articles dealing with international law, European law and political science. From 1960 onwards he regularly wrote commentaries on judgments of the International Court of Justice that were published in the Annuaire Français de Droit International (French Yearbook of International Law).
Judge Cot was very critical of the attitude of the French government in the Nuclear Tests Cases.
His PhD dissertation was published as La conciliation internationale in 1968. It is one of the few French books on international law that have been translated into English, under the title International Conciliation, a clear indicator of its scholarly value.
As a graduate student in Paris I used to see it on the window of the publisher Pedone, but at the time I could not afford it. Now of course I regret not buying it. Judge Cot is also known to me as the co-author of a two volume work on political sociology, entitled Pour une sociologie politique and as the co-editor of the massive two-volume work, La Charte des Nations Unies, commentaire article par article (The UN Charter: Article-by-Article Commentary). I was a subscriber to the first edition of the book i.e., I purchased it before publication, and as a result my name appears at the end of the book together with the names of the other subscribers.
D. Professional Experience
Like many French intellectuals and academics, Judge Cot was able to combine his scholarly activities with public office. This is perhaps not so surprising, as he is the son of Pierre Cot, who was a member of Parliament for the Savoie department and a minister in several cabinets of the Third Republic (1870-1940), notably that of Léon Blum of the Popular Front of the Left in 1936-37.
Like his father, Judge Cot was a member of Parliament for Savoie (1973–81), during which period he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Finance Committee of the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament). He was Junior Minister for Cooperation and Development (1981–82) in the cabinet of Pierre Mauroy, prime minister under the Socialist President François Mitterand. As Minister he chaired the first Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Paris in 1981. He was also elected member of the Executive Board of UNESCO (1983–84), which has its headquarters in Paris.
Judge Cot has also had a political career at the European level. He was appointed to the European Parliament (1978-79) and was elected to the Parliament for three successive terms (1984-99). The European Parliament is one of the major institutions of the European Union. At the Parliament he served as President of the Budget Committee (1984–89); President of the Socialist Group (1989–94), which brings together all the European Socialist parties represented in the European Parliament; and Vice-President of the Parliament (1997–99).
From the 1980s onwards, Judge Cot served as Counsel and Advocate in a number of cases before the International Court of Justice:
♦ Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali), (1983-86)(Counsel for Burkina Faso);
♦ Territorial Dispute (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Chad), (1990-94)(counsel for Chad);
♦ Kasikili/Sedudu Islands (Botswana/Namibia), (1996-99)(counsel for Namibia);
♦ Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Burundi), (1999-2001);
♦ Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria), (1994-2002)(counsel for Cameroon);
♦ Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia), (1998-2002), (counsel for Malaysia); and
♦ Tax regime governing pensions paid to retired UNESCO officials residing in France (France/UNESCO) (2003).
♦ In 2001, Judge Cot was appointed by France as judge ad hoc in The “Grand Prince” Case (Belize v. France), Prompt Release, which was heard by ITLOS.
The following year he was elected a member of the Tribunal; he was re-elected in 2011 for another nine-year term. He served as President of the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes from 2008 to 2011.
Parallel to the exercise of his functions as ITLOS judge, Judge Cot has been a judge in cases before other international tribunals. He was President of an arbitral tribunal established within the framework of the European Development Fund, a fund supported by voluntary contributions from members of the European Union (EU) in order to finance development cooperation between the European Union and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group. No information is available on this arbitration on the EU website or in the Reports on International Arbitral Awards/Recueil des sentences arbitrales . Possibly the parties to the case (whose identities cannot even be verified) preferred to keep the proceedings confidential.
Judge Cot was appointed judge ad hoc several cases before the International Court of Justice:
♦ Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), (2007-12), (appointed by Colombia);
♦ Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine), (2004-09), (appointed by Rumania);
♦ Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Colombia), (2008-13);
♦ Temple of Preah Vihear, Interpretation (Cambodia v. Thailand), (2011-13)(appointed by Thailand); and
♦ Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia), (2013-15), (appointed by Timor Leste).
The Temple Case would have been of particular interest to Judge Cot, for he had written in the 1960s two commentaries on the ICJ judgment for which Cambodia sought an interpretation. The first article was on the judgment. The second was on the preliminary objections. The second article analyzed the judgment on the merits.
Prior to his appointment to the tribunal in the Philippines v. China arbitration, Judge Cot was member of another arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 Convention: the Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India (2009-14). It might be interesting to note that Judge Wolfrum was the Tribunal president and Judge Mensah was also a member of this Tribunal
Member of the Tribunal: Judge Stanislaw Pawlak
Judge Stanisław Pawlak was born in Kalisz, Poland in 1933.
Judge Pawlak graduated from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw in 1955 with a Master in Law. He subsequently obtained two doctorates: a PhD in Law (1967) and a DLitt (Doctor of Letters) in Political Science (1973), also from the University of Warsaw.
B. Academic Experience
While working in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was successively Associate Professor (1974–2001), Professor (2002–12) and Professor Emeritus (2013) of International Law and International Relations in the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science of the University of Warsaw. He has taught at the Institute of International Relations of the same University since 1975. Since 2005, he has been Professor and Dean of Faculty of Social Science and Administration, Warsaw Academy of Computer Science and Administration. Between 1967 and 2001, he was Visiting Professor at various universities in the United States, Canada and Syria.
Judge Pawlak is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on international law, the law of the sea, the UN, disarmament, international terrorism, and on Japanese, Chinese, Canadian and American foreign policy.
Noteworthy is the fact that Judge Pawlak wrote two books that cover nearly 40 years of US-China relations: The United States Policy towards China 1941–1955 (in Polish), 1973 (also published in Russian in 1974) and The United States Policy towards China 1956–1978 (in Polish), 1982. He is also author of Okinawa (in Polish, 1972).
On the law of the sea, he has written:
♦ “The Jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (in Polish),” Yearbook Prawo Morskie, vol. XXV (2009);
♦ “Some Reflections on Factors Exerting Influence on Maritime Boundary Delimitation”, in Coexistence, Cooperation and Solidarity: Liber Amicorum Rüdiger Wolfrum, (2011); and
♦ “The Baltic Sea Region – an Area of Interdependence of Baltic States”, in Governing Ocean Resources: New Challenges and Emerging Regimes, A Tribute to Judge Choon-Ho Park (2013).
His other publications in Polish include:
♦ “Political and Legal Aspects of International Terrorism,” Sprawy Międzynarodowe (September 1988);
♦ Present Value of the Idea of Atomic-free Zones in the World (1987);
♦ Yalta and Potsdam (1985);
♦ “The Legal Aspects of Verification”, The International Law of Arms Control and Disarmament (1991);
♦ “Poland’s Treaty Policy 1990–1993,” Yearbook of Polish Foreign Policy (1993–94);
♦ Protection of National Minorities in Europe (2001);
♦ “The United Nations Towards (sic) International Terrorism,” The United Nations Organization. Balance and Perspectives (2006);
♦ “Multilateral Diplomacy – its Role and Tasks,” in International Relations in the 21st Century (2006);
♦ “The Protection of National Minorities in Eastern Europe,” OSCE and Minorities – Assessment and Prospects (2007);
♦ “Poland’s Policy towards the Middle East,” in Directions and Areas of Polish Foreign Policy (2012); and
♦ Publications and Documents From the Years 1962-2012 (Selection) (in Polish and English) (2013).
D. Professional Experience
Judge Pawlak’s career in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spanned 50 years (1955-2005):
♦ He served for many years in Asia, as Legal Adviser and Analytic Officer of the Polish delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom, Korea (1956–58);
♦ Attaché and Second Secretary at the Polish Embassy in Tokyo (1958–63);
♦ Deputy Chief of the Polish delegation to the International Control Commission, Saigon, Viet Nam (1965–66); and
♦ Ambassador to Syria and Jordan (1996–2001).
♦ He was posted in North America as First Secretary at the Polish Embassy to the US (1967–70) and as Ambassador to Canada (1978-83).
Judge Pawlak’s experience of multilateral organizations is extensive. He was Polish Representative to the UN General Assembly (1973–78, 1983–91, and 2002–05) and to the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) of the Council of Europe . He was chair of the Polish delegation to the UN-sponsored Vienna diplomatic conference that drew up the draft Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986).
In the Home Office, most of his assignments related to international law and international organizations. He was Director of the Department of International Organizations (1975–78 and again 1986-89) and Director of the Legal and Treaty Department (1983-86). After representing Poland at the United Nations, he became Adviser to the President of the Republic (2001–05).
Judge Pawlak’s involvement in law of the sea issues covers a period of over 30 years:
♦ In the 1980s, he headed the Polish delegation in talks with the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) on the Agreement of 22 May 1989 on delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two countries (1983–88) and with the USSR on the delimitation of the Polish-Soviet sea border (1985).
♦ In the 1990s, he was Chair of the group of Polish experts that engaged in talks with experts from Russia and other interested States on the protection and conservation of marine resources of the Sea of Okhotsk (1992–95).
♦ He chaired the Polish Delegations to the International Conference that drew up the 1994 Convention on Protection of Pollock Resources in the Bering Sea (1993–94) and to the UN Conference for the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (1993–95).
♦ He was Chairman of the Polish delegation to the thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the 1982 Convention in 2003, when he was elected president of the meeting, and in 2004.
♦ In 2004, he was nominated to the List of Arbitrators under article 2 of Annexes V and VII to the Convention. The following year he was elected to ITLOS, and was reelected in 2014.
The Philippines v. China arbitration seems to be the first time that Judge Pawlak has been appointed a member of an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 Convention. Nevertheless, apart from his expertise in law of the sea issues acquired over more than three decades, he has the inestimable advantage of extensive knowledge of Socialist legal systems as well as of East Asia. It is thus understandable that he was appointed to the Tribunal by the President of ITLOS when China failed to designate its arbitrator.
Member of the Tribunal: Professor Alfred A.H. Soons
(Here’s how to pronounce his name)
Professor Soons was born on 13 October 1948, in Aruba, a Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean.
Professor Soons obtained his undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Utrecht (1971), and an LLM in Law and Maritime Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle (1974). After graduate studies at Cambridge University, he obtained a PhD from Utrecht University in 1982 with a dissertation on the international legal regime of marine scientific research.
B. Academic Experience
Professor Soons was lecturer in law at the University of Amsterdam in 1975-76 and Adjunct Professor of Public International Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam (1985-87). He was Professor of International Law at his alma mater from 1987 to 2014, serving as Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1995 to 1998.
He has also lectured at The Hague Academy of International Law (1994) on “The exercise of enforcement jurisdiction at sea”) and has been visiting lecturer at various institutions, including Universitas Padjadjaran (Bandung), University of Helsinki, University of the Netherlands Antilles, University of Aruba, University of Washington, IMO Maritime Law Institute (Malta) and at the Netherlands Defense College. Currently he serves as chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Netherlands Defense Academy; as member of the Executive Board of the Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii, now at the University of Miami (since 1990); and as Co-director, Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, Rhodes (since 1995).
He is a former vice-president (1991-92) and president (1992-97) of the Netherlands Society of International Law; Chairman of the ILA (International Law Association) Committee on the Exclusive Economic Zone (1989-92) and the ILA Committee on Coastal State Jurisdiction Relating to Marine Pollution (1992-97).
Currently he is a member of the ILA Executive Council; member and chairman of the Jury for the Hague Prize for International Law; member and chairman of the Standing Advisory Committee on Public International Law of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; member of the Scientific Council and the Commission on Public International Law of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut (since 1986); member of the Executive Board of the Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii; chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Netherlands Defense Academy, and member of the Advisory Body of Experts on the Law of the Sea of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/ABE-LOS).
Professor Soons has an impressive publication record. The University of Washington, School of Law published his paper, Remote Sensing of the Ocean: International Legal Aspects.
Even before completing his doctorate, he had already published Artificial islands and Installations in International Law (1974) .
The publication of his book Marine Scientific Research and the Law of the Sea (The Hague: Kluwer, 1982) was timely, for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Part XIII of which regulates Marine Scientific Research, was adopted in that year.
He edited the Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Law of the Sea (Law of the Sea Institute Conference//Proceedings), entitled Implementation of the Law of the Sea Convention Through International Institutions (1991).
For the years 2000 to 2013 alone, his CV lists 4 books, 10 book chapters, 7 articles, 7 reports and 3 edited books. The list would surely be even longer if it included his publications since the 1980s.
D. Professional Experience
Professor Soons has a long and distinguished record of public service in both the judicial and executive branches in the Netherlands:
He was Deputy-Judge in the District Court of Rotterdam for over a decade (1981-92).
Prior to taking up his position as Professor at the University of Utrecht in 1987, he was Head of the Legal Affairs Section, North Sea Directorate (1976-78); Assistant legal counsel (international law) (1978-80); Deputy legal counsel (1980-85); Head, Division of Maritime Waterways and Ports (1985-87), all in the Ministry of Transport, Water Management and Public Works.
Between 1976 and 1987, he was a member of the Dutch delegation to meetings in the framework of international agreements, such as the 1972 Oslo Dumping Convention (Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft), the 1969 Bonn Agreement (Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil), the 1972 London Dumping Convention (London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter).
He was also a member of the Dutch delegation to meetings of the International Maritime Organization www.imo.org, the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) , and the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine. He was a Member and vice-chairman of the Netherlands delegation for negotiations with Belgium on questions concerning the rivers Meuse and Scheldt (1987-93) and a Member, North Sea Commission of the National Advisory Council on Water Management and Public Works (1987-92). He was also a Consultant on fisheries and marine pollution legislation to the Governments of Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (1989-92).
Professor Soons has also worked as a consultant for foreign governments and international organizations. He was Consultant on maritime legislation to the Department of Sea Communications, Republic of Indonesia (1983-86) and Project-leader law of the sea (1987-91) Netherlands-Indonesian Legal Cooperation Program. He was a Consultant for the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (1993-94) www.ffa.int. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Advisory Body of Experts on the Law of the Sea of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
At the international level, Professor Soons has considerable experience both as a lawyer and judge. He was counsel to Indonesia in the Case concerning sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia), International Court of Justice (1998-2002) and counsel to Suriname in the Guyana v. Suriname arbitration under Annex VII of the 1982 Convention (2004-07) .
He was Chairman of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Arbitral Tribunals in case No. 8351 (1994-96) and case No. 8311 (1995-99). The ICC is a private organization that, among other services, offers arbitration as “a flexible and efficient dispute resolution procedure leading to binding and final decisions subject to enforcement worldwide.” ICC arbitration differs from inter-state arbitration in that non-state actors may be parties to a case. No further information seems to be available on the two cases. It is possible that the parties to both cases wanted the proceedings to be kept confidential.
In addition to his appointment as a member of the tribunal in the Philippines v. China arbitration, he was a member of the tribunal in the Arctic Sunrise Arbitration (Netherlands v. Russia), (2013-15) .
He is the president of the Arbitral Tribunal in Duzgit Integrity Arbitration (Malta v. São Tomé and Príncipe), which was initiated in 2013 and is still pending.
Member of the Tribunal: Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum
Here’s how to pronounce his surname.
Judge Wolfrum was born on 13 December 1941 in Berlin.
Judge Wolfrum studied Law at the Universities of Bonn and Tübingen, passing his First State Examination (Staatsexamen) in 1969 and his Second State Examination in 1973. The State Examination is a final examination in law and certain other fields that is organized by the state, and not by universities. He completed his doctorate in laws (Dr. jur.) at the University of Bonn in 1973. He received the Habilitation , venia legendi for National Public and International Public Law in 1980. The Habilitation is a requirement in Germany and several other European countries for a tenured full professorship and supervision of doctoral research. One can only apply for it when one already has a PhD, after which the candidate must write a substantial piece of research. The latter is in practice the equivalent of a second doctoral dissertation, and must be defended. The venia legendi is the teaching license.
B. Academic Experience
Judge Wolfrum started his academic career as Assistant Professor at the Institute of International Law of the University of Bonn (1973–82). While he was an Assistant Professor, he spent a year as a Research fellow at the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia (1977–78). After receiving the Habilitation, he was appointed Professor of National Public and International Public Law at the University of Mainz in 1982.
He then moved to the University of Kiel, where he was also Director of the Institute of International Law (1982–93) and Vice-Rector of the University (1990-93). He was Visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Law School in 1987 and 1990.
From 1993 to 2013, he was Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Heidelberg as well as Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, also in Heidelberg. The Institute , which focuses on basic research in public international law, European Union law and comparative constitutional and administrative law, had been founded in 1924 in Berlin. It was reestablished in 1949 by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, an independent, non-profit research organization founded in 1948.
In 1998 Judge Wolfrum lectured at The Hague Academy of International Law on “Means of Ensuring Compliance with and Enforcement of International Law”.
Judge Wolfrum has been Chairman of the board of the German United Nations Association; Vice-President of the German Research Foundation (1996–2002); Vice-President of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (since 2002); member of the International Law Association (Board, German section, since 1994); member of the Executive Board, Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii and University of Miami (since 1994;) member of the Executive Board of Zentrum für deutsches Recht am Institut für Staat und Recht der Russischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Center for German Law at the Institute of State and Law at the Russian Academy of Sciences)(1994-2003); member of the Executive Board of the Stiftung für marine Geowissenschaften (Foundation for Marine Geosciences) (GEOMAR)(1995-2003); member of the Council of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerrecht (German Society for International Law), (since 1997); member of the Working Group Biodiversität (“Biodiversity”) at the Europäischen Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlichtechnischer Entwicklungen (European Academy for the Research into Consequences of Scientific-Technological Developments).
The breadth of Judge Wolfrum’s research is impressive. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on various issues of public international law, law of the sea, international environmental law, human rights, United Nations and the Antarctic.
♦ Die Internationalisierung staatsfreier Räume (The Internationalization of Common Spaces Outside National Jurisdiction: The Development of an International Administration for Antarctica, Outer Space, High Seas and Deep Seabed, 1984);
♦ United Nations: Law, Policies, and Practice (1995);
♦ Enforcing Environmental Standards: Economic Mechanisms as Viable Means, (1996);
♦ The Right to a Fair Trial (with D. Weissbrodt, 1997);
♦ “Means of Ensuring Compliance with and Enforcement of International Law,” Recueil des Cours de l’Académie de Droit International de La Haye (Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law), vol. 272 (1998); International Law, vol. I/1, I/2, I/3 (in German; with J. Delbrück, 2002);
♦ Conflicts in International Environmental Law (together with N. Matz, 2003);
♦ Equality and non-discrimination in the National and International Human Rights Protection (ed., 2003);
♦ Developments of International Law in Treaty-Making, V. Röben and R. Wolfum (eds., 2005);
♦ “The Role of International Dispute Settlement Institutions in the Delimitation of the Outer Continental Shelf,’ in Maritime Delimitation (2006);
♦ “Freedom of Navigation: New Challenges”, in Freedom of Seas, Passage Rights and the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (2009); and
♦ “Ad hoc Chambers”, in Governing Ocean Resources: New Challenges and Emerging Regimes, A Tribute to Judge Choon-Ho Park (2013).
Some of his articles in English on the law of the sea and other topics are available on the website of the Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (Journal for Foreign Public Law and International Law, known by the abbreviation ZaöRV):
♦ on fisheries;
♦ on the Common Heritage of Mankind;
♦ on the military use of outer space;
♦ on indigenous peoples in international law;
♦ on the reform of UN peacekeeping missions (with Silja Vöneky); and
♦ on land-based tourism in Antarctica (with Silja Vöneky and Jürgen Friedrich).
Judge Wolfrum is co-editor of the massive 11-volume Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEPIL), which started to appear online in 2008 and in print in 2012, and is co-editor of the Max Planck Yearbook on United Nations Law.
D. Professional Experience
Judge Wolfrum was:
♦ a Judge at the Courts of Appeal for Administrative Matters in Lüneburg and Schleswig (1986–93).
♦ He was a member of the German delegation to international meetings relating to the law of the sea and to Antarctica; the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (1980–82), the Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority and for ITLOS (1982); the 4th Special Consultative Meeting concerning Antarctic mineral resource activities (1983–88); and
♦ Chairman of the Legal Working Group of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings preparing an Annex to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty on responsibility for environmental damage (1993–98).
♦ At the UN, he was a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (1990–2000, re-elected 1994 and 1998).
♦ In 1996 Judge Wolfrum was elected Member of ITLOS; he was re-elected in 1999 and 2008. He was Vice-President of the Tribunal (1996-99); President of the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes (1997-99); President of the Tribunal (2005-08); member of the Special Chamber formed to deal with the Case concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Union) (2000-09); and member of the Special Chamber formed to deal with the Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire) , initiated in 2014.
♦ Prior to his appointment as a member of the tribunal in the Philippines v. China arbitration, Judge Wolfrum was a member of two arbitral tribunals constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 Convention:
♦ The Atlanto-Scandian Herring Arbitration (The Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands v. The European Union), (2013-14); and
♦ the Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (Mauritius v. United Kingdom), (2010-15).
♦ He was President of the Bay of Bengal Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Bangladesh and India.
To conclude, the combined effect of all these factors will confer a significant degree of authority on the Tribunal’s forthcoming decision on the merits, making it exceedingly difficult for either party to challenge it.
The decision will surely be the object of widespread attention and intensive examination in the international community in the next few years.
The 4 judges are selected by an Japanese ultra right guy and another judge is picked by Phillipine. Everybody not the relationship between china and Japan. What a joke. Bullshit international Law. cannot even convince the school kids.
Can you image if America argue with Mexico and 4 judges are selected by a anti American Cuban and one judge is appointed by mexico.
China had a chance to select its own judges.
Does it change the fact that the Japanese right wing judge is Abe’s buddy?
Well, you have to prove three things – that the judge is right wing, that he is a “buddy” of Abe and that China objected to his presence in the tribunal.
All are puppets of the long nose! says
Is it coincidence that all of them are associated with the US in one way or the other?
Chinese People have long nose too says
I know right? Even China is associated with the US since USA owes China US$1.324 trillion in debt. It’s definitely weird right? China being so closely associated with the US is very alarming. China was clearly bribing the judges to help the Philippines win so that they won’t be seen as too suspicious.
Rocky Coronel says
After defaulting its chance to be heard, boycotting the proceedings, China has the nerve to call them partisan, favoring RP due to bribe. I hope someone capable confronts China and pressure this arrogant nation to prove their accusation. Otherwise, get the rest of the 4 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US & France has already made their move) to teach this tyrant, humiliate if possible and ostracise so they learn the meaning of how to live in a civilized society.
I think, po, we ought to lead, not just hope others will, and confront china, as the previous admin had already done. and won, yehey! digong ought now to follow up and apply more pressure, use his big mouth and lambast china, out of our eez, you morons! the rest of the nations in the contested area will follow if we show them the way, and we have shown them the way, see? we can take on a bully without being nuked out of existence. what we have started, we ought to have follow up. not back down. the law says we are right, and china is wrong.
china is threatening fire power, threatening only. that’s what bullies do.
Great piece. I hope everyone takes the time to read your post. While the five judges seem eminently qualified to render fair judgement on the issue, I doubt if it will elicit a compliant and intelligent response from China. The pressures brought about by its political and socio-economic problems need a vent, and what better outlet is there than a geo-political issue to distract the chinese people and generate a level of xenophobia? This would give Xin Ping and company some breathing space and time to figure out solutions to the brewing internal instability.
Ngayon, pwedeng pwede ng mag jetski ang PMayor at maitusok ang watawat ng Pilipinas sa bawat islang inaangkin ng China na pasok sa ating 200 miles EEZ. At kung magalit ang China, basahin nya sa China ang award ng PCA tribunals.
Huwag na huwag makipag bilatetal negotiations with Cshina as long as China’s claim to sovereignty will not be replaced.
I also hope that the other claimants will take their case to the tribunal. Magsa-sama lahat ng maliliit na bansa para matalo ang higanteng bully.
Many Davids against a bully Goliath.
Instead of killing those drug suspects, why not send them to our islands?
When i read about the five justices last night, nag nose bleed ako. At nagpasalamat sa Panginoon na napakarami pa ring matitino at mahuhusay siyang nilalang na character and knowledge are more important than wealth from bribes and corruption. Just look at that SriLankan judge. He resign from the task because his wife is a Filipina. Delicadeza, integrity speaks volume. None of them wants to tarnish the tribunal decision what it may be.
Thank you Ma’am Raissa and to your bro in law. Bow.
I refer to section ‘e’.
? = “… China have repeatedly accepted that the Convention and general obligations of good faith define and regulate their conduct.”
Talking points: the ‘mexican standoff’ back in 2012, Chinese coast guards still squat in and around the Scarborough Shoal to this day.
Thanks Raissa and Dr Robles Jr. for the very informative article.
I hope we won’t have to come to this: PR conceding sovereignty in exchange for some trains from China (probably those rejected by Singapore).
While waiting for 5PM, let’s read the CNN article updated 9:42AM today
“An international tribunal will hand down a landmark ruling Tuesday in a case that will have major implications for one of the world’s biggest geopolitical flashpoints – The South China Sea
China has refused to participate in the case, which marks the first time an international court has ruled on the sea’s mess of overlapping claims, and analysts expect the ruling TO LARGELY GO AGAINST BEIJING.x-x-x-