A-G should not lead both services, it’s long overdue!


Otherwise, it will create a negative perception of judiciary’s independence, says CJ

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/rKJy0vpNVlA

KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General must stop leading the Judicial and Legal Service Commission to ensure that the judiciary can be seen as a truly independent body, says the Chief Justice.

The head of the judiciary, Tun Arifin Zakaria, said that it would be a conflict of interest for the A-G to lead both services as he was a member of the Executive, when judicial officers comes under the judiciary.

In a democracy, the three branches of Government – the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary – must remain independent of each other.

“If the A-G continues to lead both services, I worry it would create a negative perception of the judiciary’s independence, an opinion many parties share,” said Arifin in a speech at the Judicial Officers Conference here yesterday.

The Chief Justice’s call is in line with the universal concept of judicial independence, whereby the courts should not be subject to undue influence from other branches of the Government or persons with partisan interests.

In an immediate reaction, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali confirmed that the A-G’s Chambers (AGC) had received the proposal and was still studying it from the point of view of the Constitution and from a historic perspective.

“We will come up with the AGC’s views and discuss it at our next Legal and Judicial Service Commission’s meeting before the end of the year,” he told The Star.

Currently, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission managed the careers – from appointing, promoting, transferring and disciplining – of its members, which includes judicial officers like Sessions Court judges and magistrates, and legal officers like deputy public prosecutors and senior federal counsels.

Later, during a press conference, Arifin said people who disagreed with a judgment might say the magistrates were toeing the line with the A-G’s Chambers as they were effectively the same body.

“Imagine if a senior officer from the AGC or even the A-G himself was prosecuting. Lagi menggeletar (they’ll be even more nervous) to handle the case,” he said.

Arifin said Public Service Circular 6/2010 which made the A-G the chief of the judicial service was a contradiction to an existing decision by the Federal Court and no longer relevant

He pointed out that when the Commission was formed, the two groups were placed together as there were only a few hundred staff members. However, there were now 636 employees in the legal service and 4,787 serving in the judicial service as of April this year.

“The time has come for the judicial service to be lead by an someone from within its ranks,” he said, adding that such a candidate would be better equipped to run the service.

Arifin suggested that the Chief Court Registrar lead the judicial service while the Attorney-General lead the legal service.

The separation would also stop judicial officers and legal officers from being transferred between departments, unless the move is approved in writing by their chiefs.

However, Arifin said transfers should still be allowed, with due process, to ensure staff get experience as both judges and prosecutors.

Chief Registrar Datin Latifah Mohd Tahar, who also attended the conference, told reporters the paper on the proposal had been submitted to the Commission and the matter could be decided on within the year.

In 2006, the then Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the Judiciary intended to propose to the Government to abolish the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

He added that magistrates and Sessions Court judges should be absorbed into the judiciary, fearing that there would be interference by “unseen hands” if they remain as civil servants.

by Chelsea L.Y. Ng and Qishin Tariq The Star/Asia News Network

 

It’s about time, says thelegal fraternity of proposal

 

PETALING JAYA: The legal fraternity applauded the Chief Justice’s proposal for greater separation between judicial and legal services, calling it long overdue.

Former Court of Appeals Justice Mah Weng Kwai (pic) said the proposal finally presented a clear demarcation between the judicial and legal services.

“It has been a combined service for the longest time, since before I joined the service in 1973,” said Mah, who started his career as a magistrate before becoming a deputy public prosecutor and then senior federal counsel.

Responding to the Chief Justice’s suggestion that officers would still be allowed to be transferred between the services, Mah said it should be taken one step further with both services completely independent and non-transferable.

Former magistrate Akbardin Abdul Kader said, if implemented, the move would ensure former DPPs were not biased when they were elevated to the bench.

“Hence, they will remain as DPPs until they retire and so the same for judicial officers,” he said.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said the Chief Justice’s concerns were valid and deserved due consideration.

He said the fact the Attorney-General was a member of the commission could open the judiciary to questions in any decision in favour of the prosecution.

He noted that the proposal would appear to require a constitutional amendment that would place Sessions Court judges and magistrates under the sole jurisdiction of the judiciary, and no longer under the Commission.

“This strengthens the concept of separation of powers that vests judicial power in the judiciary and requires the exercise of those powers without any influence by the other arms of Government,” he said, adding that the removal of any conflict of interest would inspire more confidence in the decisions of Sessions Court judges and magistrates.

Former Malaysian Bar president Yeo Yang Poh said the Bar had called for the change for decades, adding that from time to time, a Chief Justice of the day would “warm up” to the idea.

In 2006, when Yeo was serving as president, Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim made a similar call for a separation of the judiciary from the commission.

Yeo added that it was the first time he had heard of a proposal being handed to the commission by the Chief Registrar.

He said having the judicial and legal services combined was not desirable for two reasons: in practical terms, not every one could be fearless; while in theory, even if all legal officers could overcome the pressure, there would still be the perception of impartiality.

“You can’t blame an observer that perceives something is not quite right. A judge could say they would remain impartial even if judging their father; but does it look right?” he asked.

A former officer from the Judicial And Legal Services, who declined to be named, said the risk of transfers were a common reality.

“We used to threaten judges up to the Sessions Court (level), if they misbehave, we will get them transferred as DPPs. A few of them were actually transferred,” he said.

He said though the “threats” were in jest, it shocked him that they were sometimes really carried out, adding that not all moves were sinister, as it was occasionally meant as a lesson for subordinate courts which had made errant judgments.

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Curtain falls on S.China Sea arbitration farce; Tribunal manipulators will be revealed


Foreign ministers of ASEAN member states and China at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. — VNA/VNS

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/i_J3TQKTXcc

The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Monday issued a joint communiqué, which didn’t breathe a word about the South China Sea arbitration, or harbor any overt criticism against China. Although the South China Sea issue was mentioned many times in the communiqué, it only gave a general overview of principles that must be stuck to. Most foreign media view the communiqué as a triumph for China’s diplomacy.

On the same day, a joint statement on how to effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was issued.

The two statements reflect the consistent stand of ASEAN. Attempts at pressuring China through the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting have failed.

As the first foreign ministers’ meeting after the so-called South China Sea arbitration award was issued, the US and Japan hoped to use the meeting in Laos to solicit ASEAN’s collective support for the arbitration and impose unprecedented diplomatic pressure on China. But such expectations do not correspond with the realities in East Asia.

Hype was running high among American and Japanese media that only Cambodia was standing in the way of a joint statement that incorporates the South China Sea arbitration, and Laos as the host country didn’t voice any firm opposition.

From another perspective, only the Philippines wanted a joint statement with reference to the arbitration, and Vietnam was not so persistent in its demands. Most ASEAN countries have maintained a neutral attitude. They neither want to see a division within the bloc, nor to be dragged into a conflict with China over arbitration.

Manila compromised this time, giving consent to a communiqué without mention of the arbitration. It showed flexibility compared with 2012, when the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting ended with no joint statement because the Philippines’ propositions over the South China Sea issue were firmly opposed.

It’s in the common interests of China and ASEAN to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. But the US and Japan are willing to see conflicts between China and the Philippines and Vietnam escalate. If the arbitration leads to overall confrontation between ASEAN and China, it will fullfil the desires of the US and Japan.

ASEAN won’t be so silly as to head toward a confrontation with China. We have carried out construction activities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, but with our utmost efforts to avoid confrontation.

The possibility of a military solution to the South China Sea dispute has become smaller and smaller. The arbitration has brought about new risks. Instead of a clash between China and the Philippines, or China and Vietnam, there are more worries about conflicts being sparked between China and the US.

Under such conditions, it could never be ASEAN’s desire to amplify the negative influences of the arbitration case. Two weeks after the arbitration result was announced, no other countries outside the region but the US, Japan and Australia have voiced support for it. The farce is coming to an end.- Global Times.

Political manipulation behind arbitral tribunal will be revealed

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/tUR7WVsmC7k

Spotlight: Chinese FM calls for end to politicization of South China Sea issue, urges parties to return to negotiations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that the political manipulation behind the arbitral tribunal will be revealed, in response to the comments made by some foreign ministers on the South China Sea arbitration case.

Wang expounded on China’s position when attending the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in the Lao capital Vientiane.

Wang said China has not participated in the arbitration case and will not accept the so-called ruling, a position that China has made clear since day one and is supported by strong legal basis.

By adopting this position, China is safeguarding the sanctity and impartiality of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), said the Chinese foreign minister.

First, the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government violated the principle of having the consent of concerned parties as the basis of arbitration and failed to meet the prerequisite of conducting full exchange of views beforehand, thus lacking the legal conditions to be initiated.

What the former Philippine government had done also abandoned bilateral agreements between China and the Philippines and violated Article 4 of the Declaration on Conducts of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as well as the principle of estoppel prescribed in international law, according to Wang.

Second, he said, the subject matters of the arbitration, however packaged, in fact directly concern territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation which are beyond the scope of the UNCLOS and the jurisdiction of the ad hoc tribunal. It is a typical act of overstepping the power and ultra vires as well as the abuse of dispute arbitration mechanism.

Wang said by citing a prominent legal expert from Europe that the arbitration case undoubtedly touches upon territorial sovereignty which is not governed by the UNCLOS. The tribunal’s practice of separating territorial sovereignty dispute with the status of islands and reefs is unseen in international law, which is like “putting the cart before the horse.”

Third, the ruling of the ad hoc tribunal is full of obvious mistakes, Wang said. It blatantly uses its self-invented rules to negate and deprive the lawful and legitimate territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests of parties concerned. In particular, it says that Taiping Dao, the largest island in the Nansha Islands with an area of 500,000 square meters, is a rock and has no relevant maritime rights.

If such a judgment can legally stand, the sea map of the world will need to be redrawn, Wang said.

Wang stressed that this ruling runs counter to the spirit of international rule of law as well as the principle and spirit of the UNCLOS.

“This arbitration is imbued with question marks and fallacies in terms of procedure, legal application, fact finding and evidence gathering,” he said.

The so-called ruling is illegal in three aspects: the initiation of the arbitration is illegal, the set-up of the tribunal is illegal, and the result of the arbitration is illegal. Therefore, China’s stance is fully legitimate which serves the purpose of upholding international equity and justice and regional peace and stability, Wang said.

The Chinese foreign minister said more and more countries have come to see the nature and danger of the arbitration case, and understand and acknowledge China’s stance to resolve disputes through direct negotiation and consultation, calling for respect to the rights of sovereign states to independently choose dispute settlement means including respecting the declaration on optional exceptions made under Article 298 of the UNCLOS.

There are also more and more legal experts around the world questioning the legality of the arbitration case and the fairness of the ruling, Wang said, noting that the illegal nature of the so-called South China Sea arbitration case and the political manipulation hidden behind the ad hoc arbitral tribunal will be further revealed. – Global Times

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Dao inhabits people’s hearts: Tribunal’s dangerous precedent in international law !


Political manipulation violates combined concept of fairness, justice, rule, trend and direction.

ON July 12, the award on the South China Sea arbitration came out. This political anti-China farce in the disguise of law, manipulated by the United States, and acted by the former Philippine Government, eventually came to an awful end.

This award caused a storm of questions and negative comments in the international community. A lot of professionals are shocked, not to speak of how ridiculous it is to define Taiping Island as a “reef”.

As Professor Tom Zwart from the Netherlands said, “In the region (East Asia), the award will be widely regarded as the fruit of a poisonous tree, and it will fail, therefore, to garner the necessary support.”

Abraham Sofaer, former legal advisor to the US State Department, also pointed out that the arbitration had brought a lot of difficulties and anxiety, which were not good for any parties.

The US attempted to smear and “isolate” China with the arbitration, but unexpectedly received little response. China’s position of non-acceptance of and non-participation in the arbitration has won more and more support.

Even the Philippine people realised that the arbitration is a total conspiracy of the US for its own agenda. This proves again the age old saying, “a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little support”.

Dao, a combined concept of fairness, justice, rule, trend and direction, and derived from ancient Chinese philosophy, inhabits people’s hearts. The Dao of the present world lies in peace, development and winwin cooperation, and the Dao of solving international disputes lies in fair, lawful and peaceful solutions. On the premise of peaceful settlement, international law provides the right of every state to choose the means of dispute settlement, which should be based on consent, used in good faith and in the spirit of cooperation.

China persists unswervingly in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace; advocates the awareness about human common destiny; and opposes the Cold War mindset and zero-sum games, and the bullying of the weak by the strong.

China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. With regard to territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes, China adheres to settlement through amicable consultation and negotiation by directly concerned countries, and does not accept any means of third-party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on it.

The violation of Dao by the US lies in its “imperialist mindset” and pursuit of hegemony. After World War II, the US global strategy has always been seeking the “leadership of the world”.

In 2009, the Obama administration launched the Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy, and took the South China Sea issue as the pivot to maintain its regional hegemony and achieve strategic containment of China.

It is obvious that during the whole process of the arbitration unilaterally initiated and pushed by the Aquino III administration, the US was deeply involved in every step. Although alleging “neutrality and non-involvement”, the US manipulated behind the scene, and tried to forge a “coalition” to hype up the issue, resulting in rise of tension in the South China Sea.

The US always regards itself as “judge of the world”, but history and reality have repeatedly shown that the US has always adopted double standards. In the eyes of the US, international law is only applicable to other countries rather than itself. It only applies the law when it is consistent with its own interest and resolutely abandons it otherwise.

For instance, while advocating “the rule of law on the sea”, it has not acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

While insisting that China must accept the arbitration award, it chooses to forget the Nicaragua case in which it not only withdrew from the proceedings and refused to implement the ruling, but also revoked the declaration of accepting the compulsory jurisdiction by the International Court of Justice. While opposing militarisation in the South China Sea, it has been provocatively dispatching military aircraft and warships into the area, and even deploying aircraft carrier fleets to this region.

More and more countries have found out who is the biggest “trouble-maker” in the world. It is the US intervention that makes the world worse. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have all fallen into its trap and are left with mess in the region. As the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte frankly said, the root of the bloodshed in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries lies in the intervention of the US.

Furthermore, just prior to the arbitration award, the UK Iraq Inquiry published its report, stating that the decision of the US and UK to start the Iraq War was based on “flawed” intelligence. Under such circumstance, who will follow such a “leader of the world”?

The violation of Dao by the former government of the Philippines lies in breaching previous commitment and causing a lot of trouble in the shelter of a superpower.

The Philippines and China had been friendly neighbours over a long history. However, in recent years, the bilateral ties were damaged by the Philippine policy of confrontation, especially the unilateral arbitration claim.

The government of Aquino III willingly acted as the pawn of the US Rebalance Strategy and took the road to confront China. It deliberately provoked the Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) incident, unilaterally initiated and pushed the arbitration, and tried to hijack other Asean countries to smear China and benefit from the unlawful arbitration award. Its intention is vicious, and its action illegal.

First, although fully aware that territorial issues are not subject to UNCLOS and that maritime delimitation disputes have been excluded from the UNCLOS compulsory dispute settlement procedures by China, the Philippines deliberately packaged the disputes as mere issues concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS.

Second, the arbitration infringes upon China’s right to choose the procedures and means for dispute settlement. In 2006, pursuant to Article 298 of UNCLOS, China declared to exclude from the compulsory procedures disputes concerning maritime delimitation, historic bays or titles, military and law enforcement activities. There are over 30 countries that have made similar declaration.

Third, the unilateral arbitration broke the bilateral agreements reached between China and the Philippines over the years to resolve relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation.

Fourth, the arbitration violated the commitment jointly made by China and Asean countries, including the Philippines, in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to resolve the relevant disputes through negotiations by states directly concerned.

The Aquino III administration thought itself clever, but how can it deceive the whole world? As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, the arbitration is “the worst political collusion in the framework of international politics”, and “would bring negative impacts to Asean and peace in the region”.

Rod P. Kapunan, Philippine columnist of The Standard newspaper, pointed out that “after six years of hypocrisy and deceit, this shameless stooge (here refers to Aquino III) has brought us right into the doorstep of possible armed conflict with China all because it has chosen to pursue the US-designed policy of inciting hostility with our neighbour”.

Regarding the South China Sea situation, he wrote that “the lives of the Filipinos would be sacrificed to enforce a decision that if examined closely is a US proxy war which the Philippines would serve as cannon fodder in securing its interest in this part of the globe”.

The escalation in the South China Sea will bring enormous risks to the regional and even global security. The Philippines should recognise its mistakes and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

The violation of Dao by the arbitral tribunal lies in political manipulation, unfairness and unlawfulness. The arbitration is completely a political farce under legal pretext. The establishment of this tribunal lacks legitimacy.

The arbitrators it chose lack fairness. The tribunal lacks jurisdiction, and it evidently expanded, exceeded and abused its power.

The so-called “award” is even ridiculous. Experts pointed out that all the fees of the tribunal, including the huge reimbursement to the arbitrators, are borne by the Philippines alone. This has raised a lot of concerns and problems. People are asking if the Philippines “hired the judges”.

The composition of the tribunal is a result of political manipulation. Japan and Yanai Shunji, then president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, acted as the broker.

The composition of the tribunal is quite weird: four of the five arbitrators are from Europe, the fifth one is a permanent resident in Europe, and all of them lack basic understanding of Asian culture and the South China Sea issue.

One fact could better show the play under the table. When the tribunal was established in April 2013, the first president appointed by Yanai was Chris Pinto, a senior Sri Lankan diplomat. Since Pinto’s wife is Philippine, he especially asked advice from both parties to the dispute and was recognised by the Philippines.

However, when Pinto later hinted that the tribunal might not have jurisdiction over the case, it raised deep concern of the US, Japan and the Philippines. The latter asked Yanai to find somebody to replace Pinto for a so-called “just cause”. In May 2013, Pinto was forced to resign.

The tribunal abused power for its own interest. Many experts of international law believe that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. Just as Sofaer said, this arbitration is related to sovereignty disputes. It shouldn’t have been started, especially when a state party has declared in writing that it does not accept compulsory procedures over such disputes as maritime delimitation according to Article 298 of UNCLOS. The tribunal’s ruling “will broadly undermine the potential utility of international adjudication”.

The tribunal disregarded the fact that the essence of the subject matter of the arbitration is the issue of territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

It erroneously interprets the common choice of means of dispute settlement already made jointly by China and the Philippines, erroneously construes the legal effect of the relevant commitment in the DOC, deliberately circumvents the optional exceptions declaration made by China, selectively takes relevant islands and reefs out of the macro-geographical framework of the South China Sea Islands, and subjectively and speculatively interprets and applies UNCLOS.

The conduct of the tribunal and its award seriously contravene the general practice of international arbitration, completely deviate from the object and purpose of UNCLOS to promote peaceful settlement of disputes, substantially impair the integrity and authority of UNCLOS, gravely infringe upon China’s legitimate rights as a sovereign state and state party to UNCLOS, and are unjust and unlawful. It has set an extremely dangerous precedent in the history of international law.

The professional ethics of the arbitrators are widely criticised. All the Western arbitrators and expert witnesses played a shameful role as though they were chameleons.

They reversed their previous position as stated in published papers and even backtracked from their long-held views to make the case for the Philippines.

Arbitrator Alfred Soons had published his opinion that the status of islands was closely associated with demarcation and sovereignty issues.

However, when the tribunal ruled on jurisdiction and admissibility, he said the tribunal had the right to decide on the Philippines’ submissions concerning legal status and maritime entitlement of certain islands including Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) and Meiji Reef (Mischief Reef ), which was entirely contradictory to his previous viewpoint.

Expert witness Clive Schofield also changed his views at the proceedings. On the same subject, using the same materials, he drew totally different conclusions in and out of the tribunal.

People must be wondering: how could they discard professional ethics to serve the interests of those who pay them?

Facts speak louder than words. The unilateral arbitration initiated by the Aquino III administration violates international law.

The tribunal has no jurisdiction over this case. The award of the tribunal is null and void. China’s position is justified and lawful.

It is time to put an end to the arbitration on the South China Sea. Consultation is the right way to settle disputes between states.

China will continue to work together with the Asean countries to implement the DOC comprehensively and effectively, promote the consultation on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, manage and control relevant disputes properly and explore maritime cooperation, in order to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

by Huang Huikang The Star Malaysia 20 Jul 2016

The writer is a member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

 

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South China Sea arbitration:

Who are the arbitrators?

 https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/j3VsgQQJNZQ

The Xinhua news agency has accused the US government, the Philippines, the arbitration panel and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe of collusion in the recently concluded South China Sea arbitration case.

Four of the five arbitrators of the temporary tribunal were appointed by Shunji Yanai, the former president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The former Japanese diplomat’s political stance and speeches went against the principles of the independence of the international judiciary. Shunji Yanai served the Japanese Foreign Ministry for 40 years from 1961. He has been involved in controversial issues, including Japan’s 2015 security bill, and the Diaoyu Islands dispute with China. He has a close relationship with Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

The fairness of the tribunal’s operations was called into question by the personal wishes of Shunji Yanai. The Xinhua news agency commented that it was not surprising that Yanai generally chose arbitrators who were biased against China.

In addition, an American legal team provided help in drafting thousands of pages of legal documents, representing the Philippines presenting arguments to the tribunal. American lawyer Bernard Oxman, who represented the Philippines, had worked with most of the arbitrators and Yanai. He attended the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea as a representative for United States government. Based on the principles of independence of the international judiciary, the impartiality of a judge can be questioned if there are any links to a party involved in a case. Despite that, Oxman was still involved.

There is no doubt the close relationship between Oxman and US government, the Philippines government, arbitrators, Yanai and Abe. These links form a complex network of special political interests. The Xinhua news agency says they took advantage of legal platform and after three years they issued their pre-arranged ruling and finished their political farce.

Telegraph.co.uk – 

The so-called award made by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal attracted wide attention.

 

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HERE are three significant ironies in the South China Sea arbitration award which have not been picked up in the already voluminous reviews of the ruling in the case between the Philippines and China.

If properly plucked, they could form the basis for moving forward in a situation which shows all the potential of turning ugly.

The first is the distinction the arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) highlights between “historic rights” and “historic title.” While China lost in its claim to historic rights to resources in the South China Sea – deemed extinguished when states acceded to the regime under UNCLOS – it is worth noting nonetheless China does not claim to any “historic title.”

Even if the tribunal observed “historic title” can only be claimed over bays and other near-shore waters under UNCLOS, the fact remains China claims historic rights to resources within the ninedash line but not historic title.

The negative irony – at least from China’s point of view – is that had Beijing claimed historic title, the case brought to the tribunal by the Philippines in January 2013, which China contends is outside its jurisdiction on so many other grounds, could have been exempted from that jurisdiction under Article 298 of UNCLOS as a dispute concerning “historic title”.

Whether or not someone blundered in the Chinese foreign ministry, a reflection on the South China Sea dispute from the time of Deng Xiaoping, when he wisely counselled the issue of sovereignty should be set aside in negotiation to forge collaboration, would show the predisposition, lost in recent years of raw emotion, had always been to work together in the South China Sea.

This is a positive irony that could be gleaned by involved parties from last Wednesday’s tribunal award, to move forward.

The second noteworthy point that could be positively constructed from the award is the passage on the Second Thomas Shoal in response to the request from the Philippines (the 14th of its 15 submissions) for tribunal adjudication. The tribunal ruled that compulsory settlement is excluded from a dispute where military activities are involved.

China has of course been vociferous on the tribunal not having jurisdiction to hear the case brought by the Philippines. But just imagine if China had not asserted that its South China Sea activities, like reclamation and even militarisation, were not peaceful in intent but military in nature to stake its claims. Quite conceivably the tribunal might have ruled it indeed did not have jurisdiction!

Be that as it may, China has been consistent about its peaceful intentions. The occasion of the tribunal’s award should be made the point from which to push hard, through negotiation, for peaceful ends.

The third irony that could be made to have a positive twist is yet another argument by China on exclusion of the tribunal’s jurisdiction, which was rejected – the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in 2002 between China and Asean.

The tribunal rightly found that the DOC was a political, not a legal, document. Therefore its invocation for negotiation does not preclude legal settlement under UNCLOS.

Actually, it was China itself (and Malaysia) that did not want the DOC to be legally binding. Instead of talking about the chicken coming home to roost however, might this not be the opportune time to push together – both China and Asean – for the legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) and even make the overarching DOC a legal agreement?

The Asean Foreign Minsters Meeting and the Post Ministerial Conference with Dialogue Partners, including China of course, take place in Vientiane on July 23-26. Asean foreign ministries should be working furiously with one another and with China to make something positive happen in Laos.

Construct the positives. Avoid the negatives. Drive the meetings in clear direction. Asean, do not be helpless and hopeless.

Do not allow anything to happen that is gloating, taunting and flaunting. Make sure words at the meetings like “rebuke”, “chastise” and “outlaw in unequivocal terms” – which have dominated commentaries in the West – are avoided. Ensure there is no attack on anybody, including the tribunal. Show China particularly all Asean is interested to do is to move forward with it on the South China Sea issue in good faith.

All this is not easy to achieve. But it is a facet of Asean centrality that is called for more than ever before. As Asean chairs these meetings, the preparation for these outcomes must be pursued vigorously NOW in a truly focused manner.

Asean should take the lead. Laos should be given full support in preparing for the meetings. And China should be engaged before the meetings begin.

If thorough preparation and discussion do not take place before hand, there is grave danger the meetings will end up in disarray, including – again – the Asean meeting. There is no point trying to come out with an Asean joint statement on the arbitration award at this stage, as there will be no long-distance consensus when one cannot be achieved even when sitting down together. A meaningless joint statement would be just that – meaningless.

Malaysia has come out with its own statement, which is fine. The Singapore foreign minister has made a carefully crafted statement in the island republic’s Parliament. The new Philippines government has also been circumspect, showing restraint and responsibility in its hour of “victory”. And will send no less than a former president for talks with China.

China had time to expect the ruling. After giving vent to its fury, China should also calm down and work with Asean, as it has always said it would, and has again said it would in the wake of the arbitral award.

But which Asean? Asean must form a consensus on how to move forward. Singapore, which represents Asean in relations with China, should take the lead. When Asean foreign ministers failed to come out with that joint statement in 2012, Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia – not a South China Sea claimant state – scrambled a sixpoint agreement with what he called a zero-draft COC.

At this time, in this hour of crisis, the need for such leadership has never been greater. It is critical that Asean plays its role if it is not to drop off the horizon.

By Munir Majid comment Viewpoint

 

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UN distances itself from Permanent Court of Arbitration, had No role in Philippines case vs China


国际法院(ICJ)在此希望媒体和公众注意,南海仲裁案(菲律宾共和国与中华人民共和国)裁决结果由常设仲裁法院(PCA)提供秘书服务下的一个特别仲裁庭做出。相关信息请访问PCA网站(www.pca-cpa.org)。国际法院作为完全不同的另一机构,至始至终未曾参与该案,因此在国际法院网站上无法查询到相关信息。

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wishes to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the Award in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China) was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The relevant information can be found on the PCA’s website (www.pca-cpa.org). The ICJ, which is a totally distinct institution, has had no involvement in the above mentioned case and, for that reason, there is no information about it on the ICJ’s website.

A screenshot of the official Sina Weibo account of the UN which states that the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration independent from the UN. [Photo: Weibo.com]

The United Nations has made it clear that it had nothing to do with the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

A tribunal, which was established and registered at the PCA, issued an ill-founded award on Tuesday through the abuse of law on the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013.

In a post on its official Twitter-like Sina Weibo account on Wednesday, the United Nations pointed out that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the UN’s principal judicial organ, which was set up in June 1945 in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The post added that the ICJ is a totally distinct institution from the PCA and it had no involvement in the above mentioned case.

In fact, the PCA in The Hague just happens to be neighbors with the ICJ, as both are located in the Peace Palace in The Hague in the Netherlands. Of the six major organs of the United Nations, the ICJ is the only one located outside New York City in the United States, the headquarters of the United Nations.

 UN distances itself from Permanent Court of Arbitration

The International Court of Justice has taken the unusual step of distancing itself from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which ruled on the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013, concerning the South China Sea disputes.

In a statement in both English and Chinese on its website the IJC said it wished to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the award was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and that no further information would be found on its website.

A former judge of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, Abdul G. Koroma, says the only link between the two bodies is their base in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

“The Permanent Court of Arbitration, the PCA, and the International Court of Justice share the same building in The Hague which is called the Peace Palace. So it’s not very easy for a non-lawyer to be able to make the distinction between the two bodies.”

The former judge added the purpose of any arbitral settlement is to bring peaceful resolution of a conflict, rather than for any political motives.

The United Nations has also made it clear that the Permanent Court of Arbitration is not one of its organs. – http://english.cri.cn/index.htm

UN International Court had no role in Philippines case

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rushed to dispel the myth that it was involved in the South China Sea arbitration case filed by the Philippines, just as the United Nations made a similar online clarification.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/L1codx6AsR4

The ICJ, the UN”s principal organ of justice, issued a notice on its website that it is “a totally distinct institution” from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which offered secretarial assistance to the Arbitral Tribunal that ruled on the case. The ICJ said it “has had no involvement in” that case.

It pointed out that it has posted no information about the case on its website and said that anyone seeking such information must refer to the PCA’s website.

On Wednesday, the UN said on its Sina Weibo micro blog that it “has nothing to do with” the PCA, though the ICJ is located in the Peace Palace in The Hague, as is the PCA.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Thursday that these clarifications “show there is no legitimacy or representativeness to how the temporary tribunal was composed and operated, as well as show that its so-called ruling has no authority or credibility at all, and is totally invalid and not binding.

“It seems that this also is the reason why after this illegal ruling came out, only three or four countries wishfully claimed that it was ‘legally binding’,” Lu said.

Zhao Jianwen, a researcher at the Institute of International Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the reason the UN and the ICJ made such statements is that they “want to stay clear” of the ruling in the arbitration case, which, as Zhao said quoting Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, might become “a notorious case”.

Zhao said “All of the tribunal’s expenses were paid by the Philippines, including its arbitrators’ wages, and these experts’ opinions are not neutral”. Also, the tribunal has no substantive relation with the PCA, he added.

The only relation between them is that the PCA offered secretarial service to the tribunal and the tribunal was held in the PCA’s hall, Zhao explained.

Zhao pointed out that the Arbitral Tribunal was a temporary one set up specially for proceeding the South China Sea case, and its work was “virtually done” once the ruling was issued.

By Wang Qingyun | China Daily | Beijinghttp: via The Jakarta Post: //www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/07/15/un-international-court-had-no-role-in-philippines-case.html

Arbitral court not a UN agency

The United Nations said on Wednesday it has nothing to do with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which set up a tribunal that handled the South China Sea arbitration case the Philippines filed unilaterally in 2013.

In a post on its Sina Weibo micro blog, the UN said the PCA is a “tenant” of the Peace Palace in The Hague, “but has nothing to do with the UN”.

The UN said the International Court of Justice, its principal judicial organ set up according to the Charter of the UN, is also located in the Peace Palace.

The construction of the palace was managed by the Carnegie Foundation, which is still the building’s owner and manager, according to the Peace Palace website.

The UN said it makes an annual donation to the foundation for using the Peace Palace.

When asked about the Arbitral Tribunal’s case’s ruling on Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits” of the South China Sea arbitration case.

In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China will, as always, observe the goals and principles set up by the Charter of the UN, and solve maritime disputes peacefully by having talks with countries directly involved, “on the basis of firmly guarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”.

Lu said: “China is a responsible member of the international community. It’s an important advocate and loyal implementer of the UN’s cause to push forward the international rule of law.” Li Jinming, a professor of international maritime law at Xiamen University, pointed out that the use of terms such “UN tribunal” or “UN-backed tribunal” – frequently reported by Western media – is incorrect, as they confuse the PCA with the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Wang Hanling, a maritime law researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said some countries and news media are “deliberately” confusing the tribunal with the ICJ./rga

-Inquirer.net

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Paedophiles’ predators using apps in phone to find and groom potential victims


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/nu_WnaEzw-E

Hunters hunted: R.AGE journalists went undercover as 15-year-old girls to meet up with online sex predators who target teenagers. Watch the videos at rage.com.my/predator:

This was among the material gathered by The Star’s R.AGE journalists who went undercover for these meetings.

Six months before paedophile Huckle made global headlines, the R.AGE team had already started its undercover sting operation against sex predators.

During the period, R.AGE compiled material that included obscene images, inappropriate messages and hidden camera footage of the undercover journalists at work.

Malaysia does not have laws against “sexual grooming”, which refers to the process of gaining a child’s trust for future sexual exploitation, even though statistics show it has been on the rise.

Mobile chat apps (WhatsApp, WeChat, BeeTalk, Facebook Messenger, etc.) seem to
have become the most popular tools for sex predators in Malaysia, based on Bukit Aman’s statistics.

Since 2015, a whopping 80% of reported rape cases involved sex predators who started out online.

During a sting, R.AGE confronted one such predator, who was propositioning the undercover journalist on WeChat and sending photos of his penis.

“It’s a numbers game,” said the 28-year-old postgraduate student who is a self-confessed sex addict.

“On WeChat and BeeTalk, you can search for people nearby, and filter them based on gender. After I filter out all the men, I just send messages to as many girls as possible.”

The predators then start grooming those who reply to them. They would earn the trust of these children and gradually introduce sex into the conversations.

Another man claimed he is “an expert in massages” and that he had done it on at least two other girls below 15.

The situation has long weighed on Assistant Commissioner Ong Chin Lan, the Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division (D11) assistant principal director.

“If we had grooming laws, the authorities might be able to arrest predators like Huckle early on,” said Ong.

“We need to empower our law enforcement agencies.”

Sources: The Star http://rage.com.my/Predator/; http://rage.com.my/catching-sex-predators/

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This British monster paedophile defiled Malaysia’s kids


Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 charges of sexual offences against 23 children aged between six months and 13 years from an impoverished Christian community in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Court takes over an hour to read out list of charges against Huckle

LONDON: Britain’s worst paedophile who attacked hundreds of children in South-East Asia and used the dark web to crowd-fund his abuse is facing 22 life sentences.

Huckle, 30, targeted a poverty-stricken Christian community in Malaysia, where he posed as a photographer and English teacher to win the trust of his victims’ parents.

The man from Kent took pictures and videos of himself raping and abusing young children and even a baby wearing a nappy.

Huckle bragged of the attacks in online blogs and penned a sick 60-page “handbook” titled Paedophiles & Poverty: Child Lover Guide.”

During his nine years of offending, he forced victims to pose with horrific slogans advertising his foul images, which he sold for Bitcoins on a notorious paedophile website on the dark web – the encrypted version of the internet.

As part of an international network, Huckle awarded himself “PedoPoints” for carrying out the attacks and used a paedophile crowdfunding website to finance the abuse. Between November 2013 and November 2014, he had a “score” of 1,305.

The case could only be reported now after Judge Peter Rook QC lifted reporting restrictions at the start of a three-day sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey.

It took more than an hour for the charges to be put to Huckle at an earlier hearing, in what is believed to be the worst case of its kind.

He appeared in the dock yesterday wearing a black shirt, with his long hair tied back into a ponytail and sporting a goatee beard.

The paedophile sat with his head in his hands in the dock as the court heard how he set up a website to crowdfund his sickening acts.

The charges relate to the horrific sexual abuse of 23 girls and boys aged between six months and 12 years. Some 22 victims are from Malaysia while one is Cambodian.

Huckle started abusing children after spending his gap year teaching in Malaysia in 2005.

He later returned to the region and spent years carrying out some of the most horrific abuse investigators have ever seen.

He took indecent images of a three-year-old child while staying with a Cambodian family the following year.

He then returned to Malaysia where he abused and took photographs of two sisters, aged four and six.

In 2007 he came back to stay with their family and he took up a teaching post in their village and continued to abuse the girls until his arrest.

Huckle gained the trust of a poor Christian community in Kuala Lumpur through his English tuition where he was able to use his perceived status as a rich westerner to “groom” victims and their families with impunity.

Huckle even boasted that he’d “hit the jackpot” by grooming a three-year-old girl to be “as loyal to me as my dog”.

In another sickening posting, he said it was amazing that he had stuck with the same child lover for so many years and watch her body develop from a five year old to a 12-year-old.

On the dark web, Huckle documented every step of his child abuse and hoped to make paedophilia a paying profession.

He turned to online paedophiles to crowdfund the abuse, allowing those who paid him in Bitcoins access to videos of him raping his victims.

Huckle wrote: “Impoverished kids are definitely much, much easier to seduce than middle class Western kids. I still plan on publishing a guide on the subject sometime.”

He added: ‘Would love to make a small income off selling child porn.’

Huckle was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Dec 19, 2014 when he returned to the country to visit his family for Christmas.

Police found 20,253 indecent images of children on his laptop and hard drives, many of them showing Huckle abusing children. – The Daily Mail.

Huckle’s journey of depravity

Paedophile travelled widely in Malaysia, photographing kids every step of the way

PETALING JAYA: Paedophile Richard Huckle had a penchant for photos of young children. He would not only photograph them but would also visit photography community website Trek Earth and post comments there.

Huckle, 30, went by the moniker “huckool” and his comments were mostly on pictures of young children from Malaysia, Cambodia, India, and Japan.

According to Trek Earth, its members provide photographs and useful critiques for each other and the entire Internet community.

On a picture of a boy fully clothed and another clad in an oversized shirt which covered his private parts, Huckle said in June 2005: “I did wonder about his ‘private parts’ until I read the caption, though I (personally) feel there’s little offence in natural nudity.”

On a picture of a young Indian girl half-clad in a saree, Huckle said: “This is a nice photo of someone so special to you. I have a close relationship with some kids in Malaysia, I miss them very much. Have fun with her.”

Checks by The Star showed that the last time he critiqued a photo was in August 2006 and his page was viewed 5,962 times.

Huckle also posted pictures from many Malaysian states on his account.

A quick glance shows albums of photos at the Petronas Twin Tower, the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Langkawi and Negri Sembilan, among other places.

He took pictures of children frolicking on the beach, titling the picture as “Perlis”.

Huckle seemed to frequent children-centric places. In a shot of an indoor roller coaster, a young girl’s silhouette can be seen, while another titled “Muslim Dance” showed a stage full of school-goers.

Similarly, another picture of a classroom with Malaysian flags showed young children in primary school uniforms.

He also enjoyed photographing children from the Sunday school where he taught, with one picture showing a smiling group posing with the peace sign.

In the Travelogue section of his account, Huckle wrote: “I spent most of my time in Malaysia on my travels, living with the Indian Christian community in Kuala Lumpur. I also took trips to Port Dickson (Malaysia), Brunei, Singapore and Cambodia, meeting and making many friends along the way.” – The Star

The devil that hid in the church

PETALING JAYA: He was a monster who posed as a good, religious person.

Middle-class British boy Richard Huckle was baptised at the age of 17, visited churches, helped out at Sunday schools and was an average student when he left school.

But it was in church that he gave release to his vile side.

SkyNews said Huckle spent three months on a placement at a church in Kuala Lumpur and returned regularly to Malaysia, offering to help teach at schools and churches.

He even started to groom children while doing voluntary work in Kuala Lumpur. All the while, he was also abusing the children in the church.

In 2008, Huckle took a short English teacher training course at the British Council’s offices in Kuala Lumpur. He also appeared in a promotional video.

Huckle, 30, has admitted to a string of paedophile offences, ranging from raping babies and toddlers to girls and boys, from 2006 to 2014. His victims were aged between six months and 12 years.

SkyNews said Huckle “is one of the most prolific paedophiles ever to have been brought before a UK court”.

It was reported that Huckle filmed and photographed much of the abuse. He even shared it with other paedophiles on the Internet.

He also posted commentaries to accompany the images.

“It’s quite amazing to have stuck with the same child lover for so many years and I hope, from the images you have seen, enjoyed watching her grow.

“It’s not often in child porn you can compare the bodies of a 5yo and a 12yo that are the same girl. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more sex with (her) in the future,” Huckle wrote.

Over 20,000 indecent photographs were found on his computer when he was caught at London’s Gatwick Airport in 2014 as he came home to Britain from Malaysia for Christmas.

His arrest came after Australian authorities alerted Britain’s National Crime Agency to his crimes.

It was reported that Huckle wrote a paedophile manual called “Paedophiles And Poverty: Child Lover Guide” and also kept a series of notes in which he detailed rapes and other sex acts.

The encrypted manual was on Huckle’s laptop, ready for publication on the “dark web”.

At his first plea hearing at the Central Criminal Court of England, it took more than an hour to read out all the charges.

In January, Huckle pleaded not guilty to all 91 charges. But ahead of his trial in April, he admitted to 71 of the offences over the course of five more hearings.

According to one charge, Huckle had bragged: “I’d hit the jackpot, a 3yo girl as loyal to me as my dog and nobody seemed to care.”

He faces 22 life sentences. His sentencing will be done today.

Huckle appeared very normal, says KL pastor

PETALING JAYA: Huckle seemed like a “normal human being”, said a Kuala Lumpur church pastor.

The pastor, who only wanted to be known as Paul, said Huckle started visiting his church in 2011 but was an infrequent churchgoer.

“He came to the church off and on. Maybe only around five or six times,” said Paul.

When asked how Huckle was like, Paul described him as a “normal human being”.

“He would sometimes take pictures, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

“Sometimes when we saw things we did not like or behaviour that we did not like, we would scold him. But I can’t go into specifics.”

However, he said none of the children in the church were harmed by Huckle.

Paul said that when news broke about Huckle, he was shocked and “felt really rotten about the whole thing”.

“I will still pray for him. But that doesn’t negate his errors,” he said.

Huckle is said to have spent six years at another church in Kuala Lumpur. He taught in Sunday school, attended services and took many photographs of children.

A priest in the church said: “He hardly spent any time here (in the church). Very short period. He was in Malaysia for some years but he was hardly here (in the church).”

Huckle’s school friend, Scott Chapman, was shocked to learn that the “loner” he had known could “change so quickly”.

“He never seemed off or anything like that. He just seemed like a normal person. Just like a very, very quiet person. Didn’t really talk about hormonal things like that,” said Chapman.

Huckle’s parents sold their house and moved away as soon as they found out about Huckle’s crime.

Meanwhile, his older brother refused to speak about it to SkyNews.

“None of his family will speak about him. None of us ever want to see Richard again,” Huckle’s sisterin-law told SkyNews.
Previous StoryNext Story

The ones we trust are the ones who betray us

 

PETALING JAYA: Paedophiles are usually trusted individuals such as teachers or spiritual leaders.

Consultant psychiatrist and a member of the Health Ministry’s mental health promotion council Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj Chandrasekaran said Malaysians were a trusting people.

“We assume adults who become close to children show genuine affection. It is in our culture to promote physical closeness between adults and children,” he said.

Dr Mohanraj added that paedophiles are individuals who have failed to complete the normal sexual development process.

“Paedophiles tend to dominate or control their victims to compensate for their powerlessness during their childhood.

“Sharing their exploits online is a way to get fulfilment in a twisted way – by demonstrating their power and control over their victims, and getting admiration from like-minded individuals,” he said.

Dr Mohanraj said some signs of sexual abuse parents can look out for in their children are signs of physical pain or discomfort, emotional changes like temper tantrums, becoming withdrawn or very clingy, changes in eating habits, self-harm or unexplained personality changes.

“Children can also start acting out in sexual ways because they feel it is normal behaviour, but these are actions they learnt from the abuser.

“Bed wetting, nightmares or sleeping problems are also signs that something is wrong. If parents notice several of these signs in their child, they should talk to the child or seek help,” said Dr Mohanraj.

Criminologist and psychologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said paedophiles were mostly men and that most sexual child abuse cases involved men known to the child.

“A trend analysis of the past decade in Malaysia indicates that more than 60% of such crimes were perpetuated by the child’s father, followed by the uncle and stepfather.

“In many cases, other relatives are also victims or know of the crime, especially the mother,” she said.

She also said it was more common to find a child who was sexually abused three or four times before a report was made.

“This type of abuse by a male relative makes a child believe sexual intimacy with male family members is how men express their parental or family love to a child,” she said. The Star

‘He started with nude pix’

 


Child victim recalls abuse began when she was just four 
<< Something needs to be done to address paedophilia in Malaysia. Mahi Ramakrishnan

PETALING JAYA: Shy, quiet and completely withdrawn – that was Maria (not her real name), a victim of convicted British paedophile Richard Huckle when journalist Mahi Ramakrishnan first met her.

“She did warm up a bit to us, when we made it very clear that she was safe and that she could stop the interview at any time,” said Mahi.

“But when she recounted the abuse she suffered, she seemed completely numb.”

As the BBC’s local contact, Mahi received a brief from journalist Angus Crawford in late January – the channel was doing an investigative piece on Huckle, 30, who was on trial in Britain for sexually abusing children in Malaysia.

Posing as an English and Sunday School teacher, he had targeted the children of a poor community in Kuala Lumpur.

Mahi and Crawford finally traced some of the victims, and managed to convince 14-year-old Maria to share her harrowing story.

“Maria lives in a shelter. She told us that the abuse began when she was four,” said Mahi.

On the video, Maria recounts how her grandmother told her to be careful with Huckle, but as a child she did not understand the caution – until he began taking nude photos of her and her younger sister.

“There was more, but she made us agree not to share any more than that. We did find other children whom we believe were abused – one admitted that it had happened, but would not say any more,” she said.

Mahi made sure that during all her meetings with Maria, a female counsellor was present.

“After the interviews, we didn’t just want to be journalists who got the story and then left, so Angus said he would sponsor the first 10 sessions of counselling for her.

“But it is taking a lot of work to convince the caregivers and families of the victims that counselling is necessary. Mostly, they just want to forget that it happened,” she said. Mahi isn’t giving up. She will continue trying to get the kids and families on board with counselling. The journalist and filmmaker isn’t the type that shies away from ugliness.

For her documentary on child prostitution, Mahi spent time in brothels in the city.

She has written on baby trafficking and militants. But the mother of two called this “one of her most difficult stories”.

“Something needs to be done to address paedophilia in Malaysia,” said Mahi.

“I don’t condone what Huckle did, and he deserves his punishment, but who knows if he was also a victim of abuse, and how can we stop it if we don’t look at all these questions?

“Malaysia has no specific law on paedophilia. We need a sex offenders registry too.”

– The Star

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