International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an international court that was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Its mandate, as defined by the UNCLOS, is to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. It is composed out of 21 judges, that are elected for the fairness, integrity and the competence in the field of the law of the sea.

This year’s topics: 

Topic A: Short description fictional case

Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation has lived in the shadow of the superpower the Soviet Union once was. In July 2007, this ambition to regain the status of superpower took on a new form. The Russian Federation organized an expedition to the North Pole, consisting of the nuclear icebreaker Rassia and the research vessel Akademik Fedorov.

On 1 August 2007, the real purpose of the expedition becomes clear. Video images relayed from the Akademik Fedorov show its two manned mini MIR submarines planting a Russian flag on the bottom of the Pole Abyssal Plane at the exact location of the geographic North Pole.In an accompanying statement, the Russian Government states that as of this date the Russian Federation reinforces its territorial claim on the Arctic.

Now 11 years global warming creates access to different natural resources in the Arctic. The Russian Federation is becoming more aggressive in defending its claim. Even though most states have openly denounced the claim made in 2007. Russia is sending different Slava Cruisers to the sections of Arctic claimed by other states like Denmark, Canada, and United States.

Especially Canada reacts bad on the treat and starts a secret military mission to defend their claimed territory. On 7 July 2018 events take a turn for the worse. Suddenly fighting breaks out on one of the Rassia. When dawn breaks, it is seen that instead of the Russian flag the Rassia now flies the Maple Leaf of Canada and the Canadian commandos that have boarded the Rassia issue a statement that Canada has reinstated sovereignty over the North Pole. The Russian Government’s brings the case before the ITLOS. During BerlinMUN 2018 the appointed judges will rule on the matter at hand.

2. Request for advisory opinion on the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea

The region of the South China Sea has always been subjected to numerous territorial disputes, which have risen in tension in recent years after Chinese attempt at widening their borders through establishing extraterritorial islands being subjected to their jurisdiction. Surrounding countries have renamed the see as methods of soft support of their claims in terms of nomenclature – “ West Philippine Sea” in Philippines or “Luzon Sea” in Indonesia. Nevertheless, those political manoeuvres were external projections, aiming at increasing right to claim territories, of deeper disputes such as Indonesian, Chinese, and Taiwanese  claims over waters NE of the Natuna Islands or Vietnamese, Chinese, and Taiwanese claims over waters west of the Spratly Islands (additionally some or all of the islands themselves are also disputed between Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines).

On the account of lack of the settlement of the territorial disputes has caused numerous legal consequences, with the merit of the request being one of them – limitation of freedom of Navigation in violation of Article 87(1) of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). On 15th of May 2018, USS John S. McCain sailed near Mischief Reef (Chinese artificial island) and has encountered four anti-ship missiles aimed at surrounding waters, as a mean of “protecting the sovereignty of Chinese waters” and “engaged in unauthorized broadcasting” as described by Chinese Defence Ministry. In response, US has submitted a claim to ITLOS for recognizing a direct violation of freedom of Navigation by the Chinese military, as said waters are not-recognized, therefore international ones, the chamber has to release an advisory opinion (or opinions) on that matter.


List of available countries/positions

SenegalTafsir Malick Ndiaye
Trinidad and Tobago
Anthony Amos Lucky
PolandStanislaw Pawlak
TanzaniaJames Kateka
South AfricaAlbert Hoffmann
AlgeriaBoualem Bouguetaia
UkraineMarkiyan Kulyk
IcelandTomas Heidar
IndiaNeeru Chadha
RussiaRoman Kolodkin
South KoreaJin-Hyun Paik
President - Chair

All the other countries are already taken : C̶a̶p̶e̶ ̶V̶e̶r̶d̶e̶ ̶,F̶r̶a̶n̶c̶e̶, ̶J̶a̶p̶a̶n̶, ̶C̶h̶i̶n̶a̶, ̶A̶r̶g̶e̶n̶t̶i̶n̶a̶, ̶M̶e̶x̶i̶c̶o̶, ̶P̶a̶r̶a̶g̶u̶a̶y̶, ̶T̶h̶a̶i̶l̶a̶n̶d̶, ̶N̶e̶t̶h̶e̶r̶l̶a̶n̶d̶s̶, ̶M̶a̶l̶t̶a̶.