States and Statehood

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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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“Solid jurisdictional basis”? The ICC’s fragile jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed in Palestine

On 5 February 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued its long-awaited decision regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction for possible war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) since 13 June 2014 (for an academic analysis, see the symposium here). The decision was requested by the Office…

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Air Navigation in Abkhazia: Another Inter-State Litigation between Georgia and Russia in the Making?

In November 2020 the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, held a meeting with the head of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia to discuss relations between Russia and the de facto entity. According to the Abkhaz leader, an agreement was reached to restore the functioning of the Sokhumi airport. Russian plans to renovate the airport…

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An Irish Claim to Rockall

Due to Brexit, dispute has again arisen between the UK and Ireland over Rockall, a small rock in the North-East Atlantic Ocean, and its surrounding waters. On January 4th a Marine Scotland patrol boat stopped and boarded an Irish fishing trawler, forcing it to leave waters within 12 nautical miles of the rock. Scotland asserted the UK…

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The Recent Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh: Territorial Control, Peacekeepers and Question of Status

The nine-point ceasefire agreement signed by the president of Azerbaijan, the prime minister of Armenia and the president of the Russian Federation on 9 November 2020 ended 44 days of hostilities that claimed more than 5000 lives. It also transformed the status quo existing in the South Caucasus since the 1994 Bishkek Ceasefire Agreement, which ended the…

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