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Decolonisation revisited and the obligation not to divide a Non-Self-Governing Territory

1. Introduction A central question in the current ICJ advisory proceedings on Chagos is whether obligations existed to prevent Britain from separating the islands from the non-self-governing territory of Mauritius in 1965 prior to its independence in 1968. The Chagos archipelago is a group of small islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean, 2,200 km...

Reflections on the effectiveness of peremptory norms and erga omnes obligations before international tribunals…

By means of Resolution 71/292, of 22 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly requested for an Advisory Opinion (AO) of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.[1] At the current stage in the proceedings the discussion that takes precedence concerns...

The concept of duress in the world of decolonization

1. Introduction 23rd September 1965, 10 AM, 10 Downing street, London: Discussions on the future of Mauritius. The United Kingdom (UK), the colonial power, represented by Prime Minister Harold Wilson is on one side and Premier Ramgoolam, acting on behalf of Mauritius, the colonial entity, on the other side of the negotiating table. The colonial...

Déjà Vu in The Hague – the relevance of the Chagos arbitral award to the proceedings before the ICJ

1. Introduction On 18 March 2015, an UNCLOS Annex VII tribunal constituted under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued its award in the Chagos Arbitration, finding that the UK’s establishment of a Maritime Protected Area (MPA) in the archipelago was in violation of international law.[1] The decision features among the documents attached...

Two points for the International Court of Justice in Chagos: Take the case, all of it – It is a human rights case

The International Court of Justice is currently deliberating in the case of Chagos. Two cardinal points are humbly put forward, with a view to support the Court in its deliberation. 1. First point: Take the case. All of it The International Court of Justice (ICJ or the Court) has developed a multitude of techniques over...

Chagos: A Chance for the ICJ to do more for advancing human rights through the rule of law?

An objective of the St. Gallen workshop on the advisory opinion concerning the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 was to discuss hidden and so far, untold perspectives and dynamics that have framed the Chagossians’ long legal struggle to return. In the following I focus on some untold...

Chagos and the ICJ – The Marine Protected Area

1. Introduction There has been considerable debate, presented before the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court), regarding the scope of the request to the ICJ and the powers of the Court to express an opinion on the matter.[1] There does, however, seem to be general consensus in the arguments put before the ICJ, that...

Self-Determination and territorial integrity in the Chagos Advisory Proceedings: Potential broader ramifications

1. Introduction This paper considers the potential implications of the Chagos advisory proceedings in the International Court of Justice for other territorial situations.[1] At the heart of the advisory proceedings is the questionable lawfulness of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from the territory of Mauritius in 1965, three years before Mauritius gained its independence...

The British Indian Ocean Territory: International legal black hole?

1. Introduction Decolonization has changed the map of the world – creating not only more than a hundred newly independent States, but also new territorial units below the State level that continue to raise irritant questions of international law. One of those novel geographical and geopolitical constructs is the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in...

La juridiction consultative à l’épreuve du principe consensuel: l’affaire des Effets juridiques de la séparation de l’archipel des Chagos de Maurice en 1965

1. Introduction L’article 65, par 1, du Statut de la Cour internationale de Justice, qui constitue la base de sa compétence en matière consultative, prévoit que ‘[l]a Cour peut donner un avis consultatif sur toute question juridique, à la demande de tout organe ou institution qui aura été autorisé par la Charte des Nations Unies...

An ICJ Advisory Opinion, basis for a negotiated settlement on the issues concerning the future of the Chagos Islanders and of the British Indian Ocean Territory

1. Introduction Behind the diplomatic and legal language of the United Nations (UNGA) resolution requesting the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an ‘Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965’ lie two relatively straightforward political issues – resettlement and sovereignty. Ultimately these can only be...

The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Chagos Archipelago: An anticipatory analysis (Part I, II & III)

Introduced by Thomas Burri*, Lucas Carlos Lima, Loris Marotti, Irini Papanicolopulu, Peter Sand**   Advisory opinions rendered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court) can greatly contribute to the clarification and the development of international law on account of different factors, such as the purview of the issues at stake, the subjects involved,...