Pedra Branca – the Verdict on May 23

The ICJ (International Court of Justice) will deliver its verdict at The Hague on the disputed sovereignty between Malaysia and Singapore over the little island known as Pedra Branca. Below is the article from My Paper.

Enforcement of Pedra Branca judgment ‘to be smooth’.
Officials from Singapore and Malaysia have been in touch recently ahead of next week’s verdict on the sovereignty dispute over Pedra Branca. They were in contact to discuss ways to ensure a “smooth and problem-free” enforcement of the judgment to be handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar told The Straits Times yesterday. The ICJ will deliver its verdict on May 23 at The Hague. The judgment will bring to a close a 28-year-old bilateral dispute over the small island, which lies some 40km east of Singapore. Professor Jayakumar said the Pedra Branca saga was one of the more memorable episodes in his 27-year career in the Law Ministry. He is “quietly confident” that the judgment will be in Singapore’s favour. “Personally, I think we presented a better case but then, I cannot describe myself as an impartial observer… and we have to remind ourselves that the nature of court proceedings is such that judgment can go the other way,” he said. He observed that there were 16 judges on the ICJ bench, hailing from 16 different countries with different legal backgrounds. Singapore must thus be mentally prepared that the judgment could be in Malaysia’s favour, he added. “But whichever way the judgment goes, whether Pedra Branca is awarded to Singapore or Malaysia, I think it’s very good that Malaysia and Singapore took this route to refer the Pedra Branca dispute to the ICJ. “It sets a certain approach to the resolution of intractable disputes. It’s also good in terms of setting an example to the rest of the region that if you cannot resolve a dispute through political or diplomatic means, then rather than let it be a festering sore to impede bilateral relations, we agree that it be resolved by third-party adjudication,” he said. Prof Jayakumar, who continues to oversee foreign-policy matters that involve legal negotiation or international adjudication, also said: “It is good that the leaders of both countries have repeatedly said that they will abide by the findings of the world court and stressed that whichever way it goes, it will not affect bilateral relations.”

Whichever way the verdict goes, let’s continue to foster close relations with neighbours.


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