STATES PARTIES TO CONVENTION ON LAW OF THE SEA ELECT SEVEN MEMBERS OF INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL AS THEY BEGIN EIGHTEENTH MEETING

SEA/1901
13 June 2008

STATES PARTIES TO CONVENTION ON LAW OF THE SEA ELECT SEVEN MEMBERS OF INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL AS THEY BEGIN EIGHTEENTH MEETING

13 June 2008
Meetings Coverage
SEA/1901
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Meeting of States Parties

to Law of Sea Convention

115th & 116th Meetings (AM & PM)


STATES PARTIES TO CONVENTION ON LAW OF THE SEA ELECT SEVEN MEMBERS


OF INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL AS THEY BEGIN EIGHTEENTH MEETING

 


The States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea opened their eighteenth meeting today with a call for universal accession to that treaty, adoption of an amended provisional agenda, election of its Bureau and, after several rounds of voting, the election of seven members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.


Following his election, by acclamation, as President, Yuriy Sergeyev of Ukraine noted that no new countries had acceded to the treaty since last year’s meeting, and the number of States Parties remained at 155.  “The international community cannot but benefit from a strong and universally supported and implemented international legal regime in the oceans, so essential for the maintenance of international peace and security as well as for the sustainable use of the ocean resources, navigation and protection of the marine environment.”


The meeting, which is scheduled to run through 20 June, will focus, among other things, on the workload facing the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as it continues to examine submissions by coastal States for the delineation of the continental shelf.


Often known as the “constitution of the oceans”, the landmark Convention was adopted on 10 December 1982 and entered into force on 16 November 1994.  Its 320 articles and nine annexes govern all aspects of ocean space and maritime issues, from navigational rights, maritime limits and marine scientific research to the management of resources, protection of the marine environment and settlement of disputes.


Key documents before the meeting include:  “Issues related to the workload of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf -— tentative dates of submissions” (document SPLOS/INF/20, Add.1 and 2); the annual report of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for 2007 (document SPLOS/174); a letter dated 18 April 2008 from the Chairman of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf addressed to the President of the eighteenth meeting of States Parties and outlining the Commission’s work over the past year (document SPLOS/177); and draft budget proposals of the Tribunal for 2009–2010 (document SPLOS/2008/WP.1).


In his opening remarks today, Mr. Sergeyev welcomed the heads of the three bodies established by the Convention -- the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority, and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf –- stressing that the eighteenth meeting had before it an unusually challenging agenda, and was counting on the support and understanding of all delegations to complete it.


Following those remarks, the meeting elected the following Vice-Presidents:  Paul Badji ( Senegal), Ana Cristina Rodriguez Pineda ( Guatemala), Dean Bialek ( Australia) and Shazalina Zainul Abidin ( Malaysia).


It was also announced that the Credentials Committee would consist of the following States parties:   Brazil, Greece, Indonesia, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Suriname.


Following a suspension of the meeting, Miriam Mac Intosh ( Suriname), Chair of the Credentials Committee, supplied a brief report on that body and read out the 149 countries, plus the European Commission, whose credentials had been approved, either fully or provisionally.  At the outset of the afternoon session, however, the President announced that all 155 States Parties would be eligible to vote.


Also this afternoon, the States Parties elected, by secret ballot, members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to fill two seats allocated to the Group of African States, two for the Group of Asian States, one for the Group of Latin American and the Caribbean States, one for the Eastern European Group and one for the Western European and Other States Group.  Members of the Tribunal serve for nine years and those elected today will begin their terms on 1 October 2008.


In the first round of voting, the following were elected:


From the Asian Group:  P. Chandrasekhara Rao ( India), with 109 votes; and Joseph Akl { Lebanon), with 106 votes;


From the Latin American and Caribbean Group:  Vicente Marotta Rangel ( Brazil), with 146 votes;


From the Eastern European Group:  Vladimir Vladimirovitch Golitsyn ( Russian Federation), with 143 votes;


From the Western European and other States Group:  Rüdiger Wolfrum ( Germany), with 141 votes.


No candidates for the two African Group seats received the required two-thirds majority:  José Luis Jesus ( Cape Verde) received 86 votes; Fernando J. França Van-Dúnem ( Angola) received 59 votes; and Allieu Ibrahim Kanu ( Sierra Leone) received 45.


In the second round, Boualem Bouguetaia ( Algeria) was elected with 95 votes, and in the third round, José Luis Jesus ( Cape Verde) was elected with 94 votes.


The States Parties will convene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 16 June, to continue with the work programme of their eighteenth meeting.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.