Think Tank (1/2023)
Mr Aristyo Rizka Darmawan
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Between Foreign Policy and International Law: Indonesia’s Practice and Interpretation as an Archipelagic State under UNCLOS
30 Jan 2023

Mr Aristyo Rizka Darmawan spoke on “Indonesia’s Practice and Interpretation as an Archipelagic State under UNCLOS” at an RSIS-organised seminar on 30 January 2023.  Mr Aristyo is the Programme Director of the Centre for Sustainable Ocean Policy and Lecturer in International Law at the Faculty of Law, Universitas Indonesia.  The seminar was opened by Dr Leonard C. Sebastian, Coordinator of the Indonesia Programme, RSIS.

During his sharing, Mr Aristyo talked about three broad themes. They include Indonesia’s interest and historical role in the negotiation of 1982 UNCLOS, as well as his analysis of two case studies regarding differing interpretations of relevant clauses in UNCLOS. Mr Aristyo shared his views on the differences between Singapore and Indonesia’s interpretation of Article 51, “other legitimate activities,” in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone; and the differences between Indonesia and the United States’ interpretation of Article 53 on archipelagic sea lane passage in its archipelagic waters. He concluded that it is hard for Indonesia to put forward a clear diplomatic and legal position on these contentious issues due to the lack of a single authoritative body able to interpret international treaties in Indonesia,

The session generated a lively discussion and debate between Mr Aristyo and the audience. Audience members queried him on Indonesia’s potential to suspend navigational rights through its archipelagic waters in wartime; Indonesia’s lack of interest in designating an East-West archipelagic sea lane passage; and the potential role of the International Court of Justice and International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea in adjudicating the differing interpretations of UNCLOS in the two case studies provided. The session was concluded by Dr Leonard presenting a small token of appreciation to Mr Aristyo.

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