Saturday, 4 February 2017

Malaysia files for revision of ICJ’s Pulau Batu Puteh decision

Update 3 Mar 2017: Singapore confident of its case on Pedra Branca
The tiny island of Pedra Branca, where S'pore administers a lighthouse, sits at the entrance to the S'pore Strait about 30 km (19 miles) east of the city state & 15 km off peninsular Malaysia's southern coast on Jan 6, 2003. Photo: Reuters

S'pore strongly believes the documents filed by Malaysia to challenge the 2008 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ruled Pedra Branca to be S'porean territory does not satisfy a legal clause under the court’s statute.

Speaking during the Committee of Supply Debate in Parliament on Thursday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said the Republic’s legal team has studied Malaysia’s application carefully, including the 3 documents relied by Putrajaya to support its application.

“Our legal team strongly believes that the documents relied on by Malaysia do not satisfy the criteria under Article 61,” he said in response to questions by Members of Parliament Amrin Amin & Baey Yam Keng on the case.

related: Singapore to study Malaysia's challenge to Pedra Branca judgment

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Former ICJ president is judge ad hoc for Pedra Branca case

Singapore has picked Judge Gilbert Guillaume, a former International Court of Justice (ICJ) president, to sit as judge ad hoc for Malaysia’s application to overturn the 2008 ICJ judgment on sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry announced this in a press statement today. It said Guillaume was a member of the ICJ from 1987 to 2005, and served as its president from 2000 to 2003. He is currently a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Under the statute of the ICJ, if there is no judge of the nationality of the parties on the bench of the court, the parties may each choose a judge ad hoc who will take part in the decision on the case.

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S'pore appoints ex-ICJ president as judge ad hoc for Pulau Batu Puteh case
Former International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Judge Gilbert Guillaume was appointed by Singapore as judge ad hoc for the Pulau Batu Puteh case. NSTP pix

Singapore has chosen Judge Gilbert Guillaume, a former International Court of Justice (ICJ) President, to sit as judge ad hoc for Malaysia’s application for revision of the ICJ’s judgment on sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

In a statement today, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), said that Judge Guillaume was a Member of the ICJ from 1987 to 2005, and served as its President from 2000 to 2003. The ministry said he was currently a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.


“Under the Statute of the ICJ, if there is no judge of the nationality of the parties on the Bench of the Court, the parties may each choose a judge ad hoc who will take part in the decision on the case,” it said.

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Pedra Branca: Singapore rebuttal by June 14
S'pore will submit its rebuttal to Malaysia's application to overturn a 2008 judgment by June 14. FOTO: ST FILE

S'pore will submit its rebuttal to Malaysia's application to overturn a 2008 judgment awarding Pedra Branca to the Republic by June 14.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday said Singapore's legal team "strongly believes" the documents Malaysia relied on in its application do not satisfy the criteria under which it applied for a revision.

Malaysia's application last month cited 3 "new facts" to argue the Republic's officials did not consider S'pore had acquired sovereignty over Pedra Branca from Johor.

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ICJ releases Malaysia's Pedra Branca application, with details of 3 documents supporting sovereignty claim
The tiny island of Pedra Branca sits at the entrance to the Singapore Strait about 30km east of the city state & 15km off peninsular Malaysia's southern coast. (File foto: Reuters)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Fri (Feb 10) released details of Malaysia’s application to overturn a 2008 ruling which awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca island to Singapore.

Pedra Branca - referred to by Malaysia as Batu Puteh - was first claimed as territory of the Johor Sultanate in 1979. Singapore protested, the matter was brought to the ICJ in 2003 & in 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca.

On Feb 2, however, Malaysia applied to revise the judgment, claiming “a new fact” unearthed from 3 documents discovered in the National Archives of the United Kingdom (UK) between Aug 4, 2016 and Jan 30, 2017.

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ICJ reveals details of Malaysia’s application to challenge Pedra Branca’s sovereignty

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced the details of Malaysia's application to challenge a 2008 judgement to award sovereignty of Pedra Branca to Singapore.

Malaysia filed an Application on 2 February for revision of the Judgment delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 23 May 2008 in the case concerning Sovereignty over Pedra Branca, or Pulau Batu Puteh as Malaysia referred to, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

It is recalled that, in that Judgment, the Court found that sovereignty over Pedra Branca / Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Singapore, sovereignty over Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia and sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located

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REVEALED: MALAYSIA’S ‘NEW EVIDENCE’ IN ISLAND ROW AGAINST SINGAPORE

Malaysia’s “new evidence” that it has sovereignty – and not its southern neighbour Singapore – over the rocky outcrop called Pedra Branca comprises a letter by Singapore’s top colonial official in 1958, a naval incident report the same year, and a map of the Lion City in 1966, This Week in Asia has learnt.

These three documents would likely overturn the decision by the International Court of Justice in 2008 to award sovereignty to the disputed island to Singapore, Malaysia claimed in court documents filed on February 3.

“This application is not an appeal against the 2008 judgment. On the contrary, it draws to the court’s attention what has only recently become known to Malaysia, namely, that even after the 1953 correspondence, and at a point at which Singapore had become a self-governing colonial territory, Singapore, at the highest levels of its government, did not have the view that it had sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh,” said court documents seen by This Week in Asia.

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Malaysia's application to challenge Pedra Branca judgement released in full

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has released the full text of Malaysia's application to challenge a 2008 judgement to award sovereignty of Pedra Branca to Singapore.

Malaysia filed the application with The Hague-based ICJ on February 2, citing “new facts” discovered in recently declassified British documents which it said would have had resulted in a "different conclusion" by the court.

The "new facts" originate from three documents recently discovered in the United Kingdom's national archive — internal correspondence of the Singapore colonial authorities in 1958, an incident report filed in 1958 by a British naval officer and an annotated map of naval operations from the 1960s.

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Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali says this follows the discovery by Malaysia of a 'fact' which will be a 'decisive factor' in the issue after the British government declassified some documents recently

The government of Malaysia has filed an application for revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s judgment over Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali, in a statement today, said the application was filed yesterday. “The application, which was filed at the International Court of Justice, The Hague, was made by Malaysia upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which was, when the judgment was given, unknown to the court and also to Malaysia as the party claiming revision.

“We are also confident that the requirements as stipulated under Article 61 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice have been met in that, inter alia, the application for revision is brought within six months of the discovery of the new fact, and within 10 years of the date of the judgment,” he said.

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ISLAND ROW | Now, it's Malaysia versus Singapore
Reuters file photo of Pulau Batu Puteh, with the Horsburgh Lighthouse that Singapore had operated on the granite island for more than 130 years without protest from its neighbor. But now, Malaysia has called on the UN's top court to overturn a 2008 ruling granting its neighbor sovereignty over the tiny but strategic island

THE HAGUE, Netheralnds - Malaysia on Friday reopened a decades-old dispute with Singapore calling on the UN's top court to overturn a 2008 ruling granting its neighbor sovereignty over a tiny but strategic island.

In a filing to the International Court of Justice, Kuala Lumpur maintained new documents had been discovered in British archives backing its territorial claim to the islet.

For several decades, Malaysia had laid claim to the island it knows as Pulau Batu Puteh, while Singapore, which calls it Pedra Branca, argued sovereignty had passed to it tacitly.

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Malaysia reopens island row with Singapore
In a filing to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Kuala Lumpur says new documents had been discovered in British archives backing its territorial claim to the islet

Malaysia on Friday, February 3 reopened a decades-old dispute with Singapore calling on the United Nation's top court to overturn a 2008 ruling granting its neighbour sovereignty over a tiny but strategic island.

In a filing to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Kuala Lumpur maintained new documents had been discovered in British archives backing its territorial claim to the islet.

For several decades, Malaysia had laid claim to the island it knows as Pulau Batu Puteh, while Singapore, which calls it Pedra Branca, argued sovereignty had passed to it tacitly.

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It may take a year just to see if Malaysia has a case on Pedra Branca
The 15 judges of the International Court of Justice have to decide if the new facts are on time and important enough to re-open the case

It may take the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a year to decide on just one thing about Malaysia’s move to re-litigate the case on Pedra Branca: Should the court even allow it?

Yesterday, Malaysian Attorney-General (AG) Mohamed Apandi Ali said Malaysia had filed an application to the ICJ after the discovery of a new fact over the territorial dispute, which could be decisive. This fact was unknown to both Malaysia and the ICJ when the court gave its judgment in 2008.

The Singapore Straits Times has reported that the ICJ may take more than a year just to decide on the admissibility of Malaysia’s application.

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Singapore to study closely Malaysia’s application for revision of ICJ’s Pedra Branca ruling
Photo of Pedra Branca: Singapore Memorial

Singapore has formed a legal team to respond to Malaysia’s application for a revision of the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the sovereignty of Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement Friday (3 February).

“Singapore is studying Malaysia’s application and documentation closely,” MFA said, adding that the legal team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, Professor S. Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh, and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

MFA noted that ICJ’s ruling on 23 May 2008 regarding the sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge “was final, binding and without appeal”.

related: Malaysian wants international court to review Singapore death sentence

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Johor welcomes AG's decision to appeal ICJ's judgement on Pulau Batu Puteh

The Johor government welcomes the Attorney General’s decision to appeal the decision to hand over Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the island is important for Johor so the state welcomes the new development on this matter.

“We fully support this decision especially since there are new discoveries that might help our claim on the island. Based on the statement by the Attorney General, we believe there are still new discoveries that might help us. I hope we will continue with the efforts and hopefully we will get a positive outcome on this matter,” said Khaled.

related: M'sia files application for revision of ICJ's ruling on P Batu Puteh sovereignty

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Malaysia refers to declassified British files in seeking revision of ICJ ruling on Pedra Branca
An aerial view of Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca FOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Malaysia has cited 3 documents recently declassified by the United Kingdom to support its application for a revision of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Pedra Branca.

They are: internal correspondence of the Singapore colonial authorities in 1958, an incident report filed in 1958 by a British naval officer, & an annotated map of naval operations from the 1960s, the ICJ said in a press release on Friday (Feb 3).

The documents were discovered in the UK National Archives between Aug 4, 2016 and Jan 30, 2017, the release added.

related:
KL applies for revision of Pedra Branca judgment
Singapore studying Malaysia's application to review Pedra Branca judgment
Malaysia seeks to revise judgment on Pedra Branca, citing discovery of 'new facts'

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Singapore forms legal team to respond to Malaysia's application to revise Pedra Branca judgement

S'pore has formed a legal team to respond to Malaysia's application & documentation to revise a judgement that awarded the island of Pedra Branca to the city-state.

The team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, Professor S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh & former chief justice Chan Sek Keong, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a release on Friday night.

This comes after Malaysia said earlier on Friday that it has filed an application at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to review a judgement made in May 2008 that awarded Pedra Branca to Singapore after making "discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor".

related: Malaysia seeks to revise judgment on Pedra Branca, citing 'new facts'

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Malaysia files application for revision of ICJ's Pulau Batu Puteh decision
The government of Malaysia has filed an application for revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgment over Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), Middle Rocks and South Ledge

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in a statement today said the application was filed yesterday (Feb 2).

"The application, which was filed at the International Court of Justice, The Hague, was made by Malaysia upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which fact was, when the judgment was given, unknown to the Court and also to Malaysia as the party claiming revision.

"We are also confident that the requirements as stipulated under Article 61 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice have been met in that, inter alia, the application for revision is brought within six months of the discovery of the new fact, and within 10 years of the date of the judgment," he said.

related: Singapore to study Malaysia's application for revision of ICJ judgement

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Singapore studying Malaysia's application to review Pulau Batu Puteh judgment
Singapore is studying closely Malaysia's application to revise the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) judgment on sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Friday

"Malaysia has informed us that it has made an application for revision of the ICJ's judgment," said MFA, adding that Singapore is studying Malaysia's application and documentation closely.

The Republic "has formed its legal team to respond to Malaysia's application", it said.

The team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, Professor S. Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

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Malaysia applies for revision of ICJ's Pedra Branca decision; S'pore studying application
S'pore is studying Malaysia's application for a revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgement over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks & South Ledge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday (Feb 3). It added that a legal team has been formed to respond to the application.

An MFA spokesman said that the Malaysian government has informed Singapore of its application.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca, while Middle Rocks was awarded to Malaysia & South Ledge belonged to the state in whose territorial waters it is located.

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Singapore to study Malaysia's challenge to Pedra Branca judgment
The tiny island of Pedra Branca sits at the entrance to the Singapore Strait about 30km east of the city state and 15km off peninsular Malaysia's southern coast on Jan 6, 2003. Reuters file Foto

Malaysia, citing “new facts” discovered in recently declassified British documents, has filed a challenge to the 2008 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ruled Pedra Branca to be Singaporean territory.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response that the Republic is “studying Malaysia’s application & documentation closely”, & has formed a legal team to respond to Malaysia’s challenge.

The S'pore legal team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, former Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

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What “new fact” does Malaysia have on Pedra Branca?

IT ISN’T just one, but three new facts.

They were discovered in the National Archives of the United Kingdom between Aug 4 last year and Jan 30 this year. They are:
  • internal correspondence of the Singapore colonial authorities in 1958
  • an incident report filed in 1958 by a British naval officer
  • an annotated map of naval operations from the 1960s.
This was reported in an International Court of Justice press statement issued overnight. Malaysia is using the three documents to challenge the ICJ ruling in 2008 that awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca to Singapore. It issued a press statement earlier yesterday but didn’t give details.

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5 things you should know about Pedra Branca now that it’s back in the news

So you woke up this morning and might have seen a couple of articles on your newsfeed on Pedra Branca.

No idea what that is? No fear, we’re here to bring you up to speed so that you’ll have something to discuss with your colleagues at the water cooler come Monday
  1. Why is it white?
  2. Danger Zone
  3. He said, she said
  4. So why is Pedra Branca appearing in my newsfeed again?
  5. What next?

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ICJ ruling on dispute

In 2008, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Pedra Branca to S'pore. It recognised that Johor had the original title to Pedra Branca, but found that sovereignty over the island had passed to S'pore by the time the dispute crystallised in 1980.

Malaysia had argued that the Sultanate of Johor had possessed the title to the island since its establishment in 1512. That original title was then transmitted to the State of Johor, & subsequently to the Federation of Malaya.

It also put forth that the British & their successor, Singapore, were merely lighthouse operators and never exercised sovereignty over the island.

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Full Coverage:
Pedra Branca: Singapore confident of its team and case
Singapore 'confident' of its case on Pedra Branca: Vivian Balakrishnan
Singapore confident of its case on Pedra Branca: Vivian
Former ICJ president is judge ad hoc for Pedra Branca case
Singapore appoints judge ad hoc in Pedra Branca case
S'pore appoints ex-ICJ president as judge ad hoc for Pulau Batu Puteh case
Frenchman Gilbert Guillaume appointed as Singapore's ICJ judge
Pedra Branca: Singapore rebuttal by June 14
KL cites declassified UK files in bid to revise judgment
S'pore to study new documents submitted by Malaysia to ICJ on Pedra Branca
Malaysia cites 3 British documents from 1950s & 1960s in Pedra Branca
MFA: Singapore studying closely KL's application over Pedra Branca
Malaysia refers to declassified British files in seeking revision of ICJ ruling
M'sia seeks to revise judgment on Pedra Branca,citing discovery 'new facts'
Malaysia reopens Pedra Branca island row with Singapore after a decade
Legal team formed to respond to Malaysia's application on Pedra Branca
Singapore to study Malaysia's challenge to Pedra Branca judgment
It may take a year just to see if Malaysia has a case on Pedra Branca
How Malaysia found the new facts about Pedra Branca
Singapore: We'll respond to Malaysia on Pulau Batu Puteh
Malaysia basing new Batu Puteh challenge on declassified UK papers
ISLAND ROW | Now, it's Malaysia versus Singapore
Malaysia applies to review ICJ's Pedra Branca judgment
Malaysia seeks revision of ICJ ruling on Pulau Batu Puteh
What “new fact” does Malaysia have on Pedra Branca?
5 things you should know about Pedra Branca now that it's back in the news
KL applies for revision of Pedra Branca judgment
3 UK documents for Malaysia's application to revise Pedra Branca decision

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Malaysia files for revision of ICJ’s Pulau Batu Puteh decision