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Malaysia; Singapore: Court Rules in Maritime Dispute

(June 2, 2008) In a May 23, 2008, ruling of the International Court of Justice, Singapore has been accorded sovereignty over an island in the Straits of Singapore. The island, often called Pedra Branca but known in Malaysia as Pulau Batu Puteh, has a lighthouse and was the subject of a dispute between Singapore and Malaysia. In the same decision, Malaysia was given control over a series of uninhabited, above-water rocks. The 12 to 4 decision of the justices stated that the island had been Singapore's territory since at least 1980. The vote on giving control over the “Middle Rocks” to Malaysia was 15 to 1. The Court, which sits in The Hague, is also known as the World Court; its decisions are binding and there is no appeal. (UN Court Rules in Maritime Dispute Between Singapore and Malaysia, UN NEWS, May 23, 2008; AP, World Court Gives Lighthouse Island to Singapore (last visited May 27, 2008).