Has he read it, I asked him, because I wanted him to write about it. He said he would need to print out everything first in order to examine it page by page. That’s how thorough he is.
Meanwhile, he’d like to share this guide with his former International Studies students and with anyone who is interested to wade through this formidable ruling, which China has dismissed as “garbage” and mere scraps of paper.
Earlier, my bro-in-law published a brief in The Diplomat entitled China’s South China Sea Diplomacy Could Use Some Lessons from Africa. Pls. click on this link to read. For the complete paper (filled with footnotes), pls go to the Philippine Foreign Service Institute’s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies by clicking on this link.
I was lucky enough to get Professor Jose Maria Sison’s reaction to the ruling. But not those of former President Benigno Aquino III and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario :(
I will post Sison’s reaction separately, as well as what Chinese experts are saying about this momentous issue. – raissa
How to read the 501-page ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal on the PHILIPPINES V. CHINA case
By Dr. Alfredo C. Robles, Jr.
The Award (judgment or decision) of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is much longer than I expected and much longer than recent judgments of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
I will have to print not 300 pages, but 479 pages, 1203 paragraphs, more than double the ICJ Judgment in the extremely complex and sensitive Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro)
(201 pages, 471 paragraphs).
In its length, the Award is nearly double the length of a normal scholarly book (200 pages, 100,000 words). Like a scholarly book, it contains preliminary matter:
♦ list of representatives of the parties (p. i of the Award, p. 3 of the file);
♦ Table of Contents (pp. iii-viii of the Award, pp. 5-10 of the file);
♦ Table of Maps (p. ix of the Award, p. 11 of the file);
♦ Table of Figures (p. xi of the Award, p. 13 of the file);
♦ Glossary of Defined Terms (pp. xiii-xvii of the Award, pp. 15-19 of the file); and
♦ Glossary of Geographic Names mentioned in the Award (in English, Chinese and Filipino, pp. xix-xx of the Award, pp. 21-22 of the file).
Like a book, the Award itself is divided into Chapters, falling into two main groups.
Chapters I to IV cover the background and the history of the arbitration. Although most of this has already been covered in the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility http://www.pcacases.com/web/sendAttach/1506, these chapters have naturally been updated to take account of developments since the issuance of that Award:
♦ Chapter I, Introduction (pp. 1-9, pages 23-31 of the file, paragraphs 1-9);
♦ Chapter II, Procedural History (pp. 11-40, pp. 33-61 of the file, paragraphs 26-39);
♦ Chapter III, Relief Requested and Submissions (pp. 41-43, pages 63-65 of the file, paragraphs 112-15);
♦ Chapter IV, Preliminary Matters (pp. 45-65, pages 67-87 of the file, paragraphs 116-68).
The merits (the substance of the issues) are examined in Chapters V to VIII, constituting the bulk of the Award:
♦ Chapter V, The ‘Nine-Dash Line’ and China’s Claim to Historic Rights in the Maritime Areas of the South China Sea (Submissions No. 1 and 2) (pp. 67-117 of the Award, pages 89-139 of the file, paragraphs 169-278);
♦ Chapter VI, The Status of Features in the South China Sea (Submissions No. 3 to 7) (pp. 119-260 of the Award, pp. 141-282 of the file, paragraphs 279-648);
♦ Chapter VII, Chinese Activities in the South China Sea (Submissions No. 8 to13) (pp. 261-435 of the Award, pp. 283-457 of the file, paragraphs 649-1101);
♦ Chapter VIII, Aggravation or Extension of the Dispute between the Parties (Submission No. 14) (pp. 437-61 of the Award, pp. 459-86 of the file, paragraphs 1110-81); and
♦ Chapter IX, The Future Conduct of the Parties (Submission No. 15) (pp. 465-69 of the Award, pp. 487-91 of the file, paragraphs 1182-1201).
The last chapter, Chapter X, is entitled “Dispositif” (pp. 471-77 of the Award, pp. 493-99 of the file, paragraphs 1202-03). In French legal language, “dispositif” means “the final formulation of a judgment that contains the decision of the tribunal (as opposed to the “reasons” of the judgment)” (Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue Française [Paris: S.N.L., Dictionnaire Le Robert, 1978], p. 553). This French term is widely used in English with the same meaning. The last page (p. 479, p. 501 of the file) contains the signatures of the five members of the Arbitral Tribunal and the Registrar of the Case, who is a staff member of the Registry in the case, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).
It is noteworthy that the Award has been adopted unanimously (p. 471 of the Award, p. 493 of the file, paragraph 1203). There is no Separate opinion, in which a judge who agrees with the dispositif could have expressed disagreement with aspects of the reasoning that led to the dispositif. There is no Dissenting Opinion, in which a judge could have expressed disagreement with the conclusions in the dispositif.
The absence of either a separate opinion or a dissenting opinion, or even a simple declaration, will confer great moral authority on the Award. Such opinions could have been used by China to undermine the reasoning of the conclusions of the Award itself. In the case of the maritime delimitation between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, the latter, which was dissatisfied with the Award (Delimitation of maritime boundary between Guinea-Bissau and Senegal ), used the Declaration of the President, appended to the Award (p. 154), to argue that the Award was non-existent and null and void. On this basis, Guinea-Bissau filed a case with the ICJ requesting that the latter invalidate the award (Arbitral Award of 31 July 1989 (Guinea-Bissau v. Senegal). The result was further delays in maritime delimitation and additional expenses for two of the poorest countries on the planet.
Obviously, in the Philippines v. China arbitration, delays, if not indefinite postponement, in implementing the Award will not be due to the conduct of either the Philippines or the arbitrators, but to the intransigence of China.
To read and/or download The Ruling, pls. click on this link.