International Court of Justice begins hearing on Pedra

By: Uitvaartverzekering.Fr Uitvaart En Meer  07/11/2007
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THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has begun the hearing on the sovereignty of Pedra Branca and its outcrops of Middle Rocks and South Ledge on Tuesday. According to Ambassador-At-Large Professor Tommy Koh, who is also serving as the agent of Singapore for this case, the Singapore team is well-prepared for this session. He said the team has been working hard on the case and is looking forward to presenting its arguments in court. The team's morale is also very high, he added. The island, about the size of a football field, is located at the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait. Singapore has exercised sovereignty over the island and its outcrops since 1847, when the British colonial government built the Horsburgh Lighthouse there. In 1979, Malaysia published a map of its territories, and included Pedra Branca. Singapore objected to the move and argued that it has sovereignty over the island because of various reasons, one of which is that it conducts numerous activities there. The hearing comes over four years after Singapore and Malaysia referred the issue to the ICJ. The Singapore delegation includes Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister S Jayakumar and Chief Justice, Chan Sek Keong. Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin and a team of international legal counsels are also part of the team. The hearing comes after three rounds of written pleadings exchanged between Singapore and Malaysia from March 2004 to November 2005. The Singapore team will get to present their case first for the initial four days, and Malaysia will do their presentation on the following four days. Time will be given for both sides to rebut the statements afterwards. The hearing is set for about three weeks. - CNA/ac

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