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Violations of Sovereign Rights at a Foreign EEZ: Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia)

On 21 April 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered judgment in the Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia) case. Nicaragua instituted proceedings against Colombia regarding, among others, (1) Colombia’s interference with fishing and marine scientific research (MSR) activities of Nicaraguan-flagged or Nicaraguan-licensed vessels in Nicaragua’s EEZ and its enforcement of conservation measures in Nicaragua’s EEZ and (2) Colombia's authorization of fishing activities in Nicaragua’s EEZ. The Court found that Colombia violated its obligation to respect Nicaragua’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction by both (para. 101). Nicaragua claimed Colombia’s licensing of oil exploration within Nicaragua’s continental shelf was illegal, but this claim was rejected by the Court (para. 141). In addition, the Court decided on other issues, namely, the scope of its Court’s, Colombia’s ‘integral contiguous zone,’ and Nicaragua’s straight baselines, which will not be dealt with in  this post. There are two essential takes from the present judgment: (1) the characterization of the sovereign rights in a foreign EEZ and (2)…

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China as a Maritime Power and the Interpretation of Innocent Passage

Maritime powers have been instrumental in shaping the development of the Law of the Sea (LoS). While not uncontested, their inclusion and interpretation of key concepts into the LoS become dominant over time. As a result, expectations increase for other states to accept these or risk being cast as counter-normative actors. Nevertheless, the dominant interpretation of…

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UK UNCLOS Inquiry: Is UNCLOS Fit for Protecting Human Rights at Sea? A Comment

One of the most contemporary challenges international law is facing today is protecting, monitoring, and enforcing human rights at sea. A recently launched House of Lords Inquiry in the United Kingdom examining the UNCLOS applicability in the 21st century is asking amongst other questions, how to address the contemporary challenge of monitoring and enforcing human rights law…

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