On December 23, 2016, Department of International Studies Professor Jin Hyun Paik, who has served as a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea since 2009, was appointed chief judge in the arbitration case between Russia and Ukraine. 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 members, which, according to the Tribunal’s website are “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 Ukraine is suing Russia according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, claiming that Russia violated and usurped Ukraine’s rights by annexing Crimea and its surrounding areas including the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and the Strait of Kerch. This case between Russia and Ukraine is the 26th case mediated by the Tribunal, which was established in 1973.
The Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) said that this is the first time a Korean has been appointed as the chief judge of an arbitration case for the Tribunal. Won-Hee Kim, researcher at KMI said, “arbitration requires the highest level of expertise and court experience. It is a monumental event that a Korean has been appointed to serve in a case that is so significant for international law and politics.”
While there are normally five judges in an arbitration case, Professor Paik is one of three judges agreed upon by Russia and Ukraine for this trial.
Professor Paik graduated from the SNU School of Law in 1980. He received a Master of Laws from Columbia University (1983) and his Doctor of Laws from Cambridge University (1989). In 2009, he was appointed a member of the Tribunal, and was reelected in 2014.
Professor Paik said “the weight of the responsibility is heavy” and that he will “conduct the trial justly.”
Written by Hye Bin Lee, SNU English Editor, email@example.com
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, firstname.lastname@example.org