World / Asia-Pacific

Tribunal has handled arbitration case irresponsibly, law experts say

By Li Xiaokun and Mo Jingxi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-12 04:35

Tribunal has handled arbitration case irresponsibly, law experts say

Yongxing Island is home to the government of Sansha, China's southernmost city. [Photo/Xinhua]

The arbitration tribunal in the South China Sea dispute has explained the case in an irresponsible way and set a bad precedent, according to law professionals and scholars on international law from around the world.

The decision in the case, which was initiated unilaterally by the Philippines despite China's objection, is to be announced on Tuesday by the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague.

Abdul Gadire Koroma, a Sierra Leonean who served two terms as judge at the International Court of Justice, said "the tribunal is not entitled to decide" questions concerning territorial sovereignty.

Myron Nordquist, a senior fellow at the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, said "the arbitration sets a bad precedent with its award on jurisdiction".

"There is no way to guarantee the effectiveness of the Article 298 declarations except to honor the text which, despite my deep respect for the tribunal members and their good faith, was not done in this arbitration," said Nordquist.

Article 298 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea excludes compulsory arbitration on issues including maritime boundaries. In 2006, China declared it would exercise its rights under Article 298.

"They have already shown so much prejudice (against China)," Nordquist said.

In an earlier interview with China Daily, Nordquist also said he thought the United States is behind the Philippines' efforts to stir up the situation.

"They want to get back to those military bases. You know they got kicked out of quite a few of those places."

He said the ruling is likely to be bad for China. "It's not going to end the problem. It's going to exacerbate it."

"I am just not happy. I don't think China is getting a fair shake. I think part of the reason is that people that are being paid a lot of money by the Filipinos are taking advantage of the ignorance of people about this very complicated area."

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