Copyright (c) 1995 Virginia Journal of International Law Association
Virginia Journal of International Law
ARTICLE: The Right of Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage: A Primer
35 Va. J. Int'l L. 719
J. Peter A. Bernhardt *
I. Introduction 1
The most radical change the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) 2 wrought in the traditional navigational regime was the recognition of the midoceanic archipelagic state. Equally important was its concomitant: the recognition of archipelagic waters over which the sovereignty of an archipelagic state extends and through which the international community exercises the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage. The significance of the change in juridical nature of these waters from high seas in which foreign flags previously enjoyed the traditional freedoms of navigation and overflight to archipelagic waters over which the sovereignty of the archipelagic state extends cannot be overstated. The international navigation community was prepared to recognize this departure from the status quo ante only on the condition that crucial navigational rights would be specifically preserved in inalienable and incontrovertible provisions in the text of the LOS Convention. This juridical quid pro quo became the essence of the archipelagic state negotiations and resulted in the establishment of the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage, which article 53(3) of the LOS Convention defines as
the exercise in accordance with this Convention of the rights of navigation and overflight in the normal mode solely for the purpose of continuous, expeditious and unobstructed transit between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone. 3
Indonesia is undeniably first in importance among archipelagic states ...
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