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Arbitration has no sense when not both sides agree to participate in: former Croatian president

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-14-2016 08:22 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

ZAGREB, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Although the tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government has announced its so-called final award, the decision won't have any serious consequences, Croatia's former president Stjepan Mesic told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Mesic said although he didn't follow the case thoroughly and doesn't want to interfere in the dispute, he still believed both parties had to participate in the arbitration, otherwise the arbitration has no sense.

"I have always advocated an implementation of the international law. But a custom is that both parties in the dispute have to agree to participate in the arbitration," Mesic said.

The arbitration was unilaterally initiated in 2013 by the former Philippine government and its award was issued on Tuesday. China has refused to participate in the proceedings, reiterating that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case.

"Only when both countries agree to appear before an international tribunal can the ruling be acceptable," he added.

He thinks parties have to agree not only to take part in arbitration, but they mutually have to elect judges and decide how to implement the court decision.

On Wednesday, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic in an e-mail to Xinhua expressed the belief that the best solution is one in which both sides agree. 

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