The verdict on the Pedra Branca case (yes, the one where I wrote about the other side using a fake blog). Of course, the blog has since became a "private blog" which was still public except that readers can’t leave comments and that there hadn’t been any more updates since then. I still can’t get over the use of the blog as evidence to present to the courts. Goodness!

Nonetheless, the hearing begins at 10am Netherlands time, which is 4pm Singapore time. Instead of getting the verdict there and then, the judgement will last for about 2 hours before the final verdict is given. During the 2 hours, various points that were bring brought up in court will be discussed. It’s definitely going to be a nerve-wrecking 2 hours for everyone in court and for those in Singapore.

If anything is to go by, the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia was ruled in favour of Malaysia and being a pessimist, I think Malaysia will emerge victorious in today’s ruling. Of course, I am hoping that Singapore will get it, but again, being such a pessimist, I would say that Singapore will get the 1 of the 2 rocks at the outskirts of Pedra Branca at best. Or should I start calling it Pula Batu Puteh now?

Malaysia boleh! Umno boleh!

IN THE HAGUE – THE Singapore delegation is in for a nerve-racking couple of hours this afternoon at the Peace Palace here, where the world court will deliver its judgment on the Pedra Branca case.

Leading the delegation are Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh.

Only a handful of the original 33-strong team involved in the hearing last November are in The Hague this time.

The rest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General’s Chambers and other agencies will catch the live telecast of the judgment in Singapore.

Malaysia’s delegation to The Hague is led by its Foreign Minister Rais Yatim and Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Mohamad, who is Adviser to the Prime Minister.

Today’s judgment will bring to a close a 29-year dispute between Singapore and Malaysia over the sovereignty of Pedra Branca, a small island that is home to Horsburgh Lighthouse.

The hearing begins at 10am Netherlands time (4pm Singapore time), when Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, acting president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), will read out the judgment.

If the court’s 2002 judgment in favour of Malaysia in its dispute with Indonesia over the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan is anything to go by, one can expect today’s reading to be a suspenseful session for the two legal teams.

The court will first recount the arguments they had presented in several rounds of written and oral pleadings.

It will then explain why it does not accept certain arguments of one state, and the same for certain arguments of the other state.

Only at the end of the hearing – expected to last up to two hours – will the disputing parties find out the outcome.

As Ambassador Koh said with a smile at a press conference on Wednesday: ‘Those of us in court will have a nervous breakdown before the judges tell us the conclusion, to whom they will award sovereignty.’

Pedra Branca, which Malaysia calls Pulau Batu Puteh, is strategically located at the eastern entrance of the Strait of Singapore, the world’s busiest strait that is used by 900 ships each day.

DPM Jayakumar said last week he was ‘quietly confident’ that the judgment would be in Singapore’s favour.

But he added that the nature of court proceedings was such that the judgment could go the other way, and Singapore must be mentally prepared for such an outcome.

Leaders on both sides had said they would accept the court’s decision and stressed that whichever way it went, it would not affect bilateral ties.

The two countries have also set up a Joint Technical Committee to enforce the court’s decision.

Its members have agreed to meet for a second time shortly after today’s judgment.

lydia@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 23rd May 2008



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