International Court of Justice

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Two Questions on Coups and Representation before International Courts

Think of Myanmar, and the awful consequences of the military coup which are continuing to unfold. One of these consequences – among the least awful, but among the more legally interesting – is that in the immediate aftermath of the coup it is unclear which set of individuals is the government of that state, entitled to represent it internationally. We’ve recently covered that issue, for example, with regard to Myanmar’s representation in the UN; or think of the question that has arisen in the UK as to who is lawfully the Burmese ambassador, entitled to occupy the premises of the diplomatic mission. There are many such representation questions, often looked at from the standpoint of recognition of governments. But an especially peculiar representation issue (and as far as I know one underexplored in the literature) is that of who gets to represent a coup-afflicted state, such as Myanmar, in disputes before international courts and tribunals, particularly in those disputes that are already pending. Think, most obviously, of The Gambia…

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“To Appear or not to Appear this was the Question” – The Saga of Kenya’s Non-Appearance in the Kenya –Somalia Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean Case

“To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles (…)” Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1 Just like Hamlet, Kenya…

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Who is the Final Interpreter in Human Rights: the ICJ v CERD?

In 2018 Qatar instituted proceedings against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before the International Court of Justice (ICJ or the Court), alleging violations of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD or the Convention). In parallel inter-State proceedings the CERD Committee found in 2019 that it had jurisdiction to deal…

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A Study in Contrasting Jurisdictional Methodologies: The International Court of Justice’s February 2021 Judgments in Iran v. USA and Qatar v. UAE

The International Court of Justice issued two significant Decisions on Jurisdiction in early February: its 3 February 2021 Judgment in Iran v. United States (where the Court accepted jurisdiction over a dispute in which Iran alleged that the United States breached the 1955 Treaty of Amity between these two States) [hereafter, Iran v. US Judgment on Preliminary…

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The Curious Case of the ‘Legal Effect’ of ICJ Advisory Opinions in the Mauritius/Maldives Maritime Boundary Dispute

On Thursday 28 January, the ITLOS Special Chamber delivered its judgment on the admissibility of the Dispute concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives). One of the key issues was the Maldives’ contention that the ongoing dispute between Mauritius and the UK over the Chagos Islands precluded the…

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