International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

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Unpacking Sovereignty and Self-determination in ITLOS and the ICC: A Bundle of Rights?

In a short space of time, two international courts have handed down rather dramatic decisions related to the contested issues of self-determination and sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago and Palestine, which have, for a very long time now, been under the UK and Israeli occupation respectively. On 28 January 2021, an ITLOS Special Chamber found that it had jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the dispute between Mauritius and the Maldives concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two states, concluding that Mauritius can be regarded as the coastal State in respect of the Chagos Archipelago within the meaning of article 74, paragraph 1, and article 83, paragraph 1, of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It also found that the UK is not an indispensable party to the proceedings, which would have barred the Chamber from exercising jurisdiction under the so-called Monetary Gold principle. Shortly after, on 5 February 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC ruled that Palestine is a State Party to…

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Rocks in the Law of the Sea: Some comments on the South China Sea Arbitration Award

Article 121(2) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention) stipulates that “the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of an island are determined in accordance with the provisions of this Convention applicable to other land territory.” According to the International Court of Justice, this rule has…

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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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Comments on Coastal and Flag State Jurisdiction in the M/T “San Padre Pio” Dispute

The M/T “San Padre Pio” dispute between Switzerland and Nigeria arose following the interception and arrest by the Nigerian navy of the M/T “San Padre Pio” – a Swiss flagged tanker – while this was engaged in one of several Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfers of gasoil in the vicinity of the Odudu Oil Field within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone…

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Comments on ITLOS, M/T “San Padre Pio” Case (Switzerland v. Nigeria), Provisional Measures Order (6 July 2019)

Introduction On July 6, 2019, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered its provisional measures order in the M/T “San Padre Pio” case between Switzerland and Nigeria. The summary of the case is available here. In short, the Nigerian navy intercepted and arrested the M/T “San Padre Pio,” a motor tanker…

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