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Development and Settlement of Disputes

Consider Dedicated South China Sea Commission to Settle Disputes

Author: Donald R. Rothwell

The Straits Times, 28 June 2017

The following is an excerpt of the article: 

“The stalemate since the July 2016 Arbitral Award suggests the time is ripe for innovative diplomatic solutions. Could a dedicated South China Sea Commission be the answer?

A 15-member commission with a mandate to facilitate mediation, conciliation and ultimately arbitration of the disputes would provide both an informal and formal third-party mechanism capable of dealing with the disputes at both a bilateral and regional level. Under this model, each of the six claimants in the wider South China Sea (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam) would appoint a commission member, with the remaining nine members appointed from outside the region.

The commission’s reach could extend to both land and maritime disputes, including islands, rocks and other small maritime features such as reefs and shoals. Its mandate could also extend to determining maritime entitlements and maritime boundaries consistently with UNCLOS, excepting the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles that is addressed through a separate UN process.

Commission members would be diplomats and jurists with expertise in territorial and maritime disputes, assisted by a staff of permanent technical experts including geographers, historians, hydrographers and marine scientists.

The commission could be established under a negotiated treaty framework, whereby each state gives its consent. A secretariat would need to be established, preferably located within the region, with an operating budget to which all participants would contribute.

Such a commission would be entirely consistent with Article 33 of the UN Charter, which encourages regional solutions to disputes and would add to the already-extensive range of peaceful means and methods of dispute resolution that are already available. These include the International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.”

Read the full article at http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/consider-dedicated-south-china-sea-commission-to-settle-disputes

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Related articles:

Development, Management and Settlement of Disputes: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/development-and-settlement-of-disputes/

Reported Facts on the Ground and on the Waters: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/reported-facts-on-the-ground-and-on-the-waters/

 

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