UN tribunal to issue ruling on PH vs China case by 2016
The United Nations Arbitral Tribunal concluded the second round of oral arguments on the merits in the Philippines’ case challenging China’s claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, announcing that it will issue a ruling by 2016.
“The tribunal now enters its deliberations and intends to issue its award in 2016,” the international tribunal said in a press statement e-mailed Tuesday morning.
The Philippines wrapped up its arguments on Monday on the last day of the weeklong hearings on the merits and remaining issues of jurisdiction and admissibility in the arbitration initiated by the Philippines against China under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The hearing, which started last November 24, was held in the Peace Palace, the headquarters of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The Philippines brought up a case before the international court in a bid to stop China’s incursions and massive land reclamation works in its territorial sea.
After concluding the hearing, the court has given all the parties until December 9, 2015 to review and submit corrections to the transcripts of the hearing.
The Philippines, on the other hand, may submit further written responses to the questions posed by the Tribunal during the hearing and other related materials by December 18, the Hague court said.
While China has refused to participate in the entire arbitral proceedings as the country claims “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea, the tribunal has decided to give China the chance to comment in writing by January 1, 2016.
The tribunal cited a provision under Article 5 of Annex VII to UNCLOS that states that the tribunal must “assure each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case.” RAM
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