Singapore becomes venue in Asia to settle disputes relating to law of the sea

People walk past rows of flags at the main entrance of the courtroom of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in Hamburg, on Nov 6, 2013.
People walk past rows of flags at the main entrance of the courtroom of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in Hamburg, on Nov 6, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore has become a venue in Asia to settle disputes for proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos).

A joint declaration was signed by Singapore with Itlos on Monday to allow the Republic to become a venue to settle disputes relating to the law of the sea.

Itlos is an independent judicial body established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). Singapore became a party to the Convention on Nov 17, 1994.

Under the declaration, signed by Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Law, Mr Ng How Yue, and President of the Tribunal, Judge Vladimir Golitsyn, the Government will provide facilities to the Tribunal, or a special chamber of the Tribunal, to allow it to hold such proceedings or exercise its other functions in Singapore.

In a statement, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said, "The Joint Declaration is a clear endorsement of Singapore as a neutral venue for the effective settlement of international disputes."

"It also demonstrates Singapore's commitment to the international rule of law by facilitating access to Itlos in order to serve the needs of the states of this region, with a view to promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes relating to the law of the sea," he added.

"I am extremely grateful to the Government of Singapore for its willingness to assist the Tribunal in the provision of appropriate facilities whenever the Tribunal considers it desirable for a special chamber of the Tribunal or the Tribunal to sit or exercise its functions in Singapore," said Judge Golitsyn.