The Sino-Philippine Arbitration on the South China Sea Disputes: Ineffectiveness of the Award, Inadmissibility of the Claims, and Lack of Jurisdiction, with Special Reference to the Legal Arguments Made by the Philippines in the Hearing on 7-13 July 2015
Michael Sheng-ti GAU
【中文摘要】中菲南海仲裁案正处于决定性阶段。2015年7月7-13日，海牙常设仲裁法院就此举行了听证会，审理了中国在2014年12月7日发表的《立场文件》中所表达的非正式初步异议，以及其他管辖权和可受理性问题。菲国起诉状所涉中国行为的合法性问题可否在审理案件实体问题阶段由仲裁庭审议，将取决于中国在2015年8月17日之前实际上作出的正式回应，以及仲裁庭作出有关管辖权 和可受理性的判决之前所发表的学术文章中可能体现出的中方回应情况。 在本文中，作者从学者的角度建议中国可以如何反驳菲国在7月听证会上作出的口头陈述。文章搭建了一个综合的架构，回答了6个基本问题，关系到仲裁庭如何裁决管辖权和可受理性问题。这些问题是：在菲国1～14项诉之声明中，(1)哪项诉之声明不存在争端及其原因；(2)哪项诉之声明不涉及法律争端及其原因；(3)哪项诉之声明不涉及《公约》之解释或适用的争端及其原因；(4)哪项诉之声明未满足《公约》第十五部分第一节的要求，不应适用第十五部分第二节的争端解决机制，及相关原因；(5)哪几项诉之声明因适用第298条而不得由仲裁庭审理及其原因；(6)第297条是否限制了仲裁庭审理菲国诉之声明的管辖权及其原因。 在回答这些问题前，本文还提出了一个更为基本的问题。目前为止，所有讨论南海仲裁案的学术论文都聚焦于仲裁庭对菲国所提争端的管辖权问题，以及起诉状所呈主张的可受理性问题。但是，有一个关键问题却遭到了忽视，即菲国隐瞒中菲南海核心争端，不把核心争端提交仲裁庭审议所招致的后果。这些后果会影响仲裁庭判决的有效性吗？在仲裁案结束审理之后，这些后果会在多大程度上影响中菲南海关系？在深入研究这个问题之后，作者得出结论认为，中菲南海争端具有多层次性，而菲国仅提交了部分争端，这一做法将使仲裁庭的裁决在解决菲国起诉状所述中菲冲突方面完全无效。在仲裁庭即将就本案管辖权和可受理性问题作出第一个判决之际，这关系到仲裁庭有无继续仲裁程序之必要。由于在审理案件实体问题阶段作出的裁决并无效力，继续仲裁程序已无必要，因此，本文建议仲裁庭适用其《程序规则》第27(2)条终止仲裁程序。 【Abstract】The Sino-Philippine Arbitration on the South China Sea (SCS) Disputes is coming to a critical stage. On 7-13 July 2015 a Hearing was conducted to review China’s informal preliminary objections demonstrated by its Position Paper released on 7 December 2014 and other jurisdiction and admissibility issues.Whether the legality issues of China's actions complained by the Philippines’Memorial can be entertained by the Arbitral Tribunal (hereinafter “Tribunal”) in the merits phase will depend on what China actually responds officially before 17 August 2015 and what China may respond as reflected by academic papers published before the award on jurisdiction and admissibility is granted.This paper serves as scholarly advice as to what China may argue to challenge Philippines' oral statements at the July Hearing. It provides a comprehensive structure by answering six different levels of questions fundamental for Tribunal's ruling on jurisdiction and admissibility. These questions are: among Philippines' Submissions 1～14 (1) which Submission suffers from lack of dispute and why;(2)which Submission does not convey legal dispute and why;(3) which Submission fails to provide a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS and why;(4) which Submission fails to fulfill the requirements contained in Section 1 of Part XV of UNCLOS and should be deemed inadmissible for the dispute settlement mechanisms under Section 2 of Part XV to address and why;(5) which Submissions may not be entertained by the Tribunal due to application of Article 298 and why; and (6) whether Article 297 limits the jurisdiction of this Tribunal to address the Philippines' Submissions and why? Before addressing these questions, this paper raises an even more fundamental issue. So far all the academic papers commenting on the SCS Arbitration have been focusing on the jurisdiction issues of the Tribunal over the disputes submitted by the Philippines, as well as the admissibility issues concerning the claims presented by the Memorial. A critical but ignored issue is the consequences of withholding those Sino-Philippine SCS (unsubmitted) core disputes by the Philippines. Would these consequences undermine the effectiveness of the award of this Arbitration? To what extent will such consequences affect the Sino-Philippine relations in the SCS after this Arbitration is over? Having completed an in-depth research on this issue, the author concludes that the Philippines' partial submission of its multi-layered SCS disputes with China will turn the award of this Tribunal totally useless in terms of resolving the confrontations between the Parties indicated by Philippines’ Memorial. It concerns the Tribunal when approaching the stage of producing the first award on the jurisdiction and admissibility issues for this case.This paper advises the Tribunal to apply Article 27(2) of its Rules of Procedure and to terminate the arbitral proceedings as its continuation is unnecessary due to such inefficacy of the award in the merits phase.