On 30 June 2017, Malaysia filed an application for interpretation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s 23 May 2008 Judgment in the case concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.
Pursuant to Article 60 of the Statute of the ICJ, the Court may consider such an application if there is a dispute as to the meaning or scope of the Judgment.
In the ICJ’s 23 May 2008 Judgment, the ICJ found that sovereignty over Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore, sovereignty over Middle Rocks belonged to Malaysia and sovereignty over South Ledge belonged to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located. The ICJ also noted that it had not been mandated to draw the line of delimitation with respect to the territorial waters of Malaysia and Singapore in the area. In its application of 30 June 2017, Malaysia claims that there is a dispute as to the meaning and/or scope of the following two points of the 23 May 2008 Judgment:
(a) the Court’s finding that “sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Singapore”; and
(b) the Court’s finding that “sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located”.
The ICJ’s Judgment is final and without appeal. Singapore and Malaysia had agreed to honour and abide by the Judgment and had established the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Technical Committee on the Implementation of the ICJ Judgment on Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (MSJTC). In our view, the ICJ Judgment is clear and unambiguous. Malaysia’s request for the ICJ to interpret the Judgment is puzzling. Singapore will therefore oppose Malaysia’s application for interpretation, which we consider to be both unnecessary and without merit.
Malaysia’s application for interpretation is additional to, and separate from, its 2 February 2017 application for revision of the ICJ’s Judgment. A revision application seeks to revise or alter the Judgment based on purported newly-discovered facts. Singapore filed its Written Observations in response to Malaysia’s revision application with the ICJ on 24 May 2017. An interpretation application, on the other hand, seeks to clarify a judgment. Singapore will file its Written Observations on the interpretation application in due course.
Just as we are confident of our case on the revision application, we are also confident that we are on strong grounds to oppose this latest application by Malaysia for interpretation. Singapore is committed to resolving these issues in accordance with international law.
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
1 JULY 2017