Ambalat Dispute Settlement Analysis Study: Juridical Review of Regional Conflict Between Indonesia and Malaysia Based on an International Law Perspective

Main Article Content

Rana Tatsbita Noer
Karim Abdul Majiid


The Ambalat dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia stands as a prominent example of a regional conflict rooted in territorial claims and maritime boundaries. This study conducts a comprehensive juridical review of the Ambalat dispute, focusing on the application of international law principles. Through an examination of relevant treaties, customary international law, and judicial decisions, this analysis aims to provide insights into the legal dimensions of the conflict and potential avenues for its resolution. The study begins by outlining the historical background of the Ambalat dispute, tracing the origins of conflicting claims over the maritime territory. It then proceeds to analyze the legal frameworks governing maritime boundaries, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and customary international law. Special attention is given to the principles of territorial sovereignty, equitable maritime delimitation, and peaceful dispute settlement mechanisms enshrined in international law. Furthermore, the study evaluates past attempts at resolving the Ambalat dispute, including bilateral negotiations and third-party mediation efforts. By critically assessing the effectiveness of these mechanisms, the study identifies key challenges and opportunities for achieving a durable settlement. Moreover, it examines the role of international organizations and legal forums in facilitating dialogue and promoting compliance with international law. In conclusion, the study offers recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders involved in the Ambalat dispute, emphasizing the importance of adherence to international legal principles and the pursuit of peaceful resolution mechanisms. By fostering a deeper understanding of the legal complexities surrounding the conflict, this analysis seeks to contribute to the advancement of regional stability and cooperation in Southeast Asia.

Article Details

How to Cite
Noer, Rana Tatsbita, and Karim Abdul Majiid. 2023. “Ambalat Dispute Settlement Analysis Study: Juridical Review of Regional Conflict Between Indonesia and Malaysia Based on an International Law Perspective”. International Law Discourse in Southeast Asia 2 (2), 251-78.


Abdullah, Mohd Kamarulnizam, Abdul Rahim Anuar, and Abubakar Eby Hara. "Contesting authority discourses in defining relations between Indonesia and Malaysia: A case study in the Kalimantan border areas." Journal of International Studies 18 (2022): 191-217.

Amer, Ramses. "Expanding ASEAN's conflict management framework in Southeast Asia: The border dispute dimension." Asian Journal of Political Science 6.2 (1998): 33-56.

Amr, Mohamed Sameh M. The role of the International Court of Justice as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Vol. 40. Brill, 2021.

Arsana, I. Made Andi. "Good Fences Make Good Neighbours: Challenges and Opportunities in Finalising Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the Malacca Strait Between Indonesia and Malaysia." Indonesian Journal of International Law 12.1 (2014): 21-48.

Bergesen, Helge Ole, Georg Parmann, and Øystein B. Thommessen. "United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)." Yearbook of International Co-operation on Environment and Development. Routledge, 2018. 113-117.

Blake, Gerald Henry, ed. Maritime boundaries and ocean resources. Rowman & Littlefield, 1987.

Boyle, Alan E. "Dispute settlement and the Law of the Sea Convention: problems of fragmentation and jurisdiction." International & Comparative Law Quarterly 46.1 (1997): 37-54.

Bustami, Reevany, and Ali Maksum. "The Domestic Politics and Indonesia’s Tension with Malaysia on The Ambalat Case." Jurnal Ilmu Sosial 21.2 (2022): 98-125.

Butcher, John G. "The International Court of Justice and the territorial dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia in the Sulawesi Sea." Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 35.2 (2013): 235-257.

Charney, Jonathan I. "Progress in international maritime boundary delimitation law." American Journal of International Law 88.2 (1994): 227-256.

Cohen, Harlan Grant. "Finding International Law: Rethinking the Doctrine of Sources." Iowa Law Review 93.1 (2007).

Danilenko, Gennadiĭ Mikhaĭlovich. Law-making in the International Community. Vol. 15. Brill, 2024.

Druce, Stephen C., and Efri Yoni Baikoeni. "Circumventing Conflict: The Indonesia–Malaysia Ambalat Block Dispute." Contemporary conflicts in Southeast Asia: Towards a new ASEAN way of conflict management (2016): 137-156.

Dunan, Amri, and Hamedi Mohd Adnan. "Is Malaysia Little Brother of Indonesia? A Framing Analysis of Ambalat Conflict." SOSIOHUMANIKA 7.1 (2014).

Gautier, Philippe. "The ITLOS Experience in Dispute Resolution." The Future of Ocean Governance and Capacity Development. Brill Nijhoff, 2019. 181-188.

Goldberg, Stephen B., et al. Dispute resolution: Negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and other processes. Aspen Publishing, 2020.

Hadi, Syamsul. "The Dispute of Ambalat in the Perspective of Indonesian Foreign Policy in the Post-new Order Era." Indonesian Journal of International Law 12.1 (2014): 1-20.

Haque, AKM Emdadul. United Nations convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS) and delimitation of maritime boundaries: A Bangladesh perspective. Diss. Western Sydney University (Australia), 2016.

Hendrapati, Marcel. "Implication of the ICJ decision respecting Sipadan–Ligitan case towards base points and maritime delimitation." International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research 14.1 (2014): 378.

Huang, Kwei-Bo. "The transformation of ASEAN as a third-party mediator in intra-regional disputes of Southeast Asia." Conflict Management, Security and Intervention in East Asia. Routledge, 2008. 163-180.

Joyner, Christopher C. International law in the 21st century: rules for global governance. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

Juda, Lawrence. "The exclusive economic zone: Compatibility of national claims and the UN convention on the law of the sea." Ocean Development & International Law 16.1 (1986): 1-58.

Kahler, Miles, and Barbara F. Walter, eds. Territoriality and Conflict in an Era of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Karaman, Igor V. Dispute Resolution in the Law of the Sea. Vol. 72. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012.

Lando, Massimo. "Judicial uncertainties concerning territorial sea delimitation under article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea." International & Comparative Law Quarterly 66.3 (2017): 589-623.

Lapidoth, Ruth. "Freedom of Navigation and the New Law of the Sea." Israel Law Review 10.4 (1975): 456-502.

Lauterpacht, Hersch. The function of law in the international community. OUP Oxford, 2011.

Lestari, Tri Ditaharmi, and Ridwan Arifin. "Sengketa Batas Laut Indonesia Malaysia (Studi Atas Kasus Sipadan Ligitan: Perspektif Indonesia)." Jurnal Panorama Hukum 4.1 (2019): 1-10.

Lutfi, Khoirur Rizal. "Legitimacy of Indonesia’s Claim over Ambalat Block (Perspective of International Law)." Khazanah 3.1 (2010): 11-29.

Maydhina, Ratna. "The Dispute Case of Sipadan Island and Ligitan Island by Countries of Indonesia and Malaysia." Journal of Global Environmental Dynamics 2.2 (2021): 5-7.

Ong, David M. "International Court of Justice Case Between Indonesia and Malaysia Concerning Sovereignty Over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan." The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 14.3 (1999): 399-414.

Pertiwi, Ita Endah. Konflik Indonesia-Malaysia dalam Kasus Ambalat. Diss. Universitas Gadjah Mada, 2009.

Pitts, Jennifer. Boundaries of the international: law and empire. Harvard University Press, 2018.

Priswari, Inti. Analisis Sengketa Perbatasan Wilayah Kedaulatan Blok Ambalat Antara Indonesia-Malaysia Serta Upaya Penyelesaiannya. Diss. Universitas Diponegoro.

Rothwell, Donald R., and WS Walter Samuel Grono Bateman, eds. Navigational rights and freedoms, and the new law of the sea. Vol. 35. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2000.

Sanjaya, Jaka Bangkit. "Analisis Mengenai Kesepakatan Negara Indonesia Dalam Memutusakan Penyelesaian Kasus Sipadan dan Ligitan Melalui Mahkamah Internasional." Jurnal Analisis Hukum 4.1 (2021): 98-119.

Sari, Ayumi Kartika. "Implications of International Law for Settlement of Maritime Border Disputes." Fox Justi: Jurnal Ilmu Hukum 14.02 (2024): 113-117.

Scovazzi, Tullio. "The Assumption that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the legal framework for all activities taking place in the sea." Ocean Sustainability in the Twenty-First (2015): 232-248.

Shearer, Ivan. "The limits of maritime jurisdiction." The limits of maritime jurisdiction. Brill Nijhoff, 2014. 49-63.

Shelton, Dinah. "Normative hierarchy in international law." American Journal of International Law 100.2 (2006): 291-323.

Supancana, Ida BR. "Maritime Boundary Disputes between Indonesia and Malaysia in the Area of Ambalat Block: Some Optional Scenarios for Peaceful Settlement." Journal of East Asia and International Law 8.1 (2015): 195-211.

Thirlway, Hugh. The sources of international law. Oxford University Press, 2019; Besson, Samantha. "Theorizing the sources of international law." The philosophy of international law (2010): 163-185.

Valencia, Mark J., and Nazery Khalid. "The Sulawesi Sea situation: Stage for tension or storm in a teacup." The Asia-Pacific Journal (2009).

Varayudej, Same. "The Dispute Settlement System within the UNCLOS." Maritime Studies 1997.95 (1997): 19-26.

Warsito, Tulus, Ali Maksum, and Ratih Herningtyas. "Indonesia’s Foreign Policy Towards Malaysia in the Post Soeharto Era: A Case Study of Ambalat Dispute." Revista UNISCI 53 (2020).

Zou, Keyuan, and Qiang Ye. "The relationship between UNCLOS and Customary International Law: Some reflections." Marine Policy 154 (2023): 105691.