SINGAPORE: Veteran diplomat Professor Tommy Koh was honoured yesterday (15 Sept) as the recipient of the prestigious Paik Choong-Hyun Prize 2023 by the Asian Society of International Law. He was conferred the award in a ceremony held over Zoom, recognizing Prof Koh’s outstanding contributions to international law.

The Paik Choong-Hyun Prize is a prestigious accolade awarded annually by the Asian Society of International Law to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, scholarship, and leadership in the field of international law. It recognizes their contributions to advancing international law and fostering peace and justice on the global stage.

In a heartfelt post on his Facebook page following the award ceremony, Prof Koh reflected on the founding of the Asian Society of International Law in 2007.

He noted that Judge Hisashi Owada of Japan, Prof S Jayakumar and Prof Tan Cheng Han of Singapore, along with himself, envisioned the need for an organization that would represent Asian perspectives in the realm of international law, much like their American and European counterparts.

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Over the years, the Asian Society of International Law has thrived and made significant strides in fostering understanding, cooperation, and scholarship in international law across Asia. Prof Koh expressed his satisfaction with the society’s accomplishments and growth.

During his acceptance speech, Prof Koh acknowledged the challenges the international community had faced in recent times, particularly referencing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which he stated had violated the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

He emphasized the importance of redoubling efforts to protect and uphold these vital legal frameworks, not succumbing to despair and defeat. He also stressed the significance of supporting Ukraine in the face of adversity and opposing Russia’s actions, asserting the importance of standing by the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.

Prof Koh’s receipt of this esteemed award underscores his profound impact on international law and his unwavering commitment to promoting the principles of the United Nations Charter and the peaceful resolution of disputes.