Bangladesh FM leaves for Germany for Maritime dispute verdict

Bangladesh Foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni is leaving for Germany to hear the maritime dispute verdict delivered by the judges of The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). She is scheduled to arrive in Hamburg at 3:10 am Bangladesh time on Wednesday, to be present during the deliberation of the verdict.

The ITLOS will deliver its verdict on the dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday.

The ITLOS, based in Hamburg, is an independent judicial body, established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the convention.

The tribunal has 21 judges from 21 different countries, including one from India. Bangladesh and Myanmar have nominated one judge each to take the total number of judges to 23, according to foreign ministry officials. Thomas Mensah of Ghana has been chosen by Bangladesh, while Myanmar has chosen Bernard Oxman of the USA.

The tribunal will sit at 4:30 pm Bangladesh time (11:30am German time) in the main tribunal courtroom.

Judge José Luis Jesus from Cape Verde, presiding judge in this case, will read the judgment to decide if Bangladesh will have to limit its access to 130 nautical miles (NM) of the sea area or a 200NM (370 kilometres) economic exploitation zone, and continental shelf, extending up to 400-460 NM southwards from the country’s coastline.

The verdict of the tribunal is final and mandatory and there can be no appeal against the judgment.

Foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni is scheduled to be present during the deliberation of the verdict. Additional foreign secretary (UNCLOS) Khurshed Alam will also be present.

On December 14, 2009, proceedings were instituted before the ITLOS regarding delimitation of the maritime boundary, after India and Myanmar cut off a significant portion of Bangladesh’s maritime area in the Bay of Bengal.

Additional foreign secretary (UNCLOS) Khurshed Alam will also be present.