Just in time for the odd Sunday filing deadline, the government of the Philippines announced that it had submitted its memorial in its arbitration with China under UNCLOS.
Ignoring a possible backlash from China, the Philippine government transmitted the document, called a “memorial” in international arbitration parlance, on Sunday to the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration where a five-member tribunal operating under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will hear Manila’s complaint.
“Today, the Philippines submitted its memorial to the arbitral tribunal that is hearing the case its brought against the People’s Republic of China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told a news conference.
“With firm conviction, the ultimate purpose of our memorial is our national interest.”
Manila declined to release a copy of the memorial as it has yet to be reviewed by the court.
But Del Rosario said the Philippine “memorial” consists of “ten volumes with maps,” “nearly 4,000 pages” and will fortify the Philippine case which seeks to declare China’s exaggerated claim illegal. A hard copy will be forwarded to the tribunal on Monday.
I hope and trust that at least volume I of the memorial (containing the 270-pages of actual legal argument and analysis) is released publicly soon. I do think the additional 3700-plus pages of annexes is overkill in a case where the other side is highly unlikely to bother answering. Still, it will be an interesting public statement of the Philippines’ best legal arguments. I have grown increasingly skeptical of this Philippines argument, both from a legal and a strategic standpoint. But I would like to see their arguments.