Press Releases : Thailand’s Candidate elected as Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for 2017-2026 news3

Press Releases : Thailand’s Candidate elected as Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for 2017-2026

                On 14 June 2017, Professor Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, Ambassador of Thailand to the Russian Federation, was elected Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for the term from 1 October 2017- 30 September 2026. The elections were held during the 27th Meeting of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

                The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. The Tribunal is composed of 21 independent members elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea. The elections for the Members of the Tribunal for the term 2017-2026 are for seven (7) vacancies, two (2) of which are allocated for the Asia-Pacific group. Ambassador/Professor Kittichaisaree of Thailand contested with the candidates from Indonesia, Lebanon and India. India was elected with 120 votes and Thailand with 110 votes in the first and second rounds of elections, respectively.

                Seven members of the Tribunal elected are from (1) African Group (2 seats): Algeria and Cabo Verde; (2) Asia-Pacific Group (2 seats): India and Thailand; (3) Eastern European Group (1 seat): the Russian Federation; (4) Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (1 seat): Paraguay; and (5) Western European and Others Group (1 seat): the Netherlands.

                Ambassador/Professor Kittichaisaree’s successful election to the Tribunal is an important milestone for Thailand’s elevated profile on the international stage and corresponds to Thailand’s twenty-year national strategic plan on enhancing global competitiveness and human resources development. Ambassador/Professor Kittichaisaree is also the first Thai national to be elected to a judicial organ of the United Nations and also the first member of the Tribunal from Southeast Asia and Oceania.

                Having a Thai national serving in this esteem global judicial mechanism demonstrates Thailand’s continued commitment to enhancing the rule of law of the sea, especially in the context of the international community’s rising attention on the issues relating to oceans and the law of the sea, which include, among others, maritime boundary delimitations, sustainable fisheries, marine environment, shipping, the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), deep seabed mining and the common heritage of mankind and the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 on life below the water. In addition, such presence of Thailand in an international mechanism can enhance the body of knowledge and experience needed to build the capacity of Thai personnel to continue to serve on the international stage in the long-run.
                Ambassador/Professor Kittichaisaree is currently the Thai Ambassador to the Russian Federation and concurrently, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, and Uzbekistan. He was previously the Thai Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia and the Director-General of the Department of International Organisations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. He was a member of the International Law Commission (ILC) of the United Nations between 2012 and 2016.