By: Elena Grace Flores
Shunji Yanai, the Japanese judge who was overseeing the organization of the tribunal that will be delivering their ruling on the South China Sea petition tomorrow, July 12 submitted by the Philippines against China was under hot seat when Chinese media accused him for being biased. Ultimately China did not have the right to choose members of the judging panel anymore because of their refusal to take part of the proceedings, therefore Judge Yanai was tasked to choose for China.
China’s People’s Daily indicated in their publication in May that four of the European judges were appointed by Yanai, who is a “biased Japanese” – so the ruling would be unfair to China. Judge Yanai should have recused himself because Japan has a separate dispute with China in the East China Sea; added another Chinese media.
Judge Yanai responded through Japan Times shortly after the published accusations that his country’s conflict with China is “completely irrelevant.” He just happened to be Japanese; he said. His priority consideration on the panel appointment is “the legal capabilities of the arbitrators” and not nationality.