UN Tribunal rules in favor of Philippines over Jurisdiction, Admissibility of case against China

The Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands has rendered its decision on the Jurisdiction and Admissibility of case filed by Philippines against China regarding the West Philippine Sea dispute. The Tribunal decided that it will hold further hearings to hear the merits of the case. The decision of the five-man tribunal was unanimous.

The Tribunal said “this arbitration concerns the role of “historic rights” and the source of maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, the status of certain maritime features in the South China Sea and the maritime entitlements they are capable of generating, and the lawfulness of certain actions by China in the South China Sea that are alleged by the Philippines to violate the Convention.”

“The Tribunal has also held that China’s decision not to participate in these proceedings does not deprive the Tribunal of jurisdiction and that the Philippines’ decision to commence arbitration unilaterally was not an abuse of the Convention’s dispute settlement procedures,” says in the press statement released October 29.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration will be releasing further statement regarding the commencement and closing of the merits hearing. The hearing on the merits will not be open to the public, however the Tribunal will consider requests from interested States to send small delegations of observers.

“The Tribunal expects that it will render its Award on the merits and remaining jurisdictional issues in 2016,” the statement added.