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 something about the five judges: who they are, what they have done in life and what they have contributed to dispute settlements.