UNITED NATIONS – “Can international law be a law when it can be ignored or broken by states without any consequence?”
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Libran Cabactulan raised this question as he hosted a discussion at the UN on a topic closely related to the Philippines’ historic arbitration case against China on the South China Sea.
The lecture focused on how to get states to comply with international judicial and arbitral decisions, a key issue in the Philippine case that Beijing has rejected. The case is based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which does not provide for any enforcement mechanism even if Manila gets a positive ruling.
International law scholar Sean D. Murphy of the George Washington University Law School said that in general, there is a “high level of compliance” with different types of judicial and arbitral decisions. Chinese diplomats also attended his lecture held at the UN Headquarters here in New York on Wednesday, October 29.