There may be some live streaming of the Timor-leste / Australia Compulsory Conciliation proceedings under UNCLOS. A test link on the Permanent Court of Arbitration website looks like it has been set up in readiness for the meeting in The Hague on the 29th of August. TIMFO will be seeking more information asap.
Live streaming would be a victory for transparency - a 'not to be missed' chance for Australians to see what our Government is up to regarding this lingering dispute with our close neighbour. Australian taxpayers are footing what must be a considerable legal bill and our international reputation could be tarnished - so accountability is important.
We know what a debacle Australia's spying on the Timorese turned out to be. Raiding Timor-Leste's legal representative, confiscating documents and then eventually returning them after direction from the ICJ, is not the way to engage as Australians with our neighbours. All this cost Australian taxpayers well over one million dollars.
As far as the Turnbull Government is concerned I presume the less we know about this Compulsory Conciliation the happier they would be.
The Compulsory Conciliation was initiated because Australia has refused to engage with East Timor to establish the maritime boundary between our nations. Frankly this is an embarrassment considering our Government has been so vocal about countries engaging to sort out maritime disputes under international law. I wrote about this in an earlier blog in relation to the South China Sea.
Certainly what happens in two weeks time be historic - the first ever use of Compulsory Conciliation under UNCLOS.
Will this mechanism, designed to help navigate an impasse, be used in good faith by Australia and East Timor to make some progress in resolving their dispute?
It will surely be watched closely by many nations including Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei who are wondering if this presents an option for them in navigating their claims in the South China Sea.
Watch this space!
Other public documents available at the PCA website include:
Case View which includes the details about the case and links to publicly available documents.
Press Release from the 29th of July 2016