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The African Union, in its effort to ensure the decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago, takes part in the oral hearing before the International Court of Justice

Dates: 
September 03, 2018

The African Union, in its effort to ensure the decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago, takes part in the oral hearing before the International Court of Justice

The Hague, The Netherlands, 3 September 2018 The African Union (AU) takes part in the public hearings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the request for an advisory opinion regarding the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (Request for Advisory Opinion).

In the hearings, scheduled to take place from 3 to 6 September 2018, the ICJ will hear oral pleadings from six (6) African Countries, namely: Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia and sixteen (16) additional States namely: Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany, Guatemala, India, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Serbia, Thailand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, and Vanuatu. The African Union led by Amb. Dr. Namira Negm, Legal Counsel of the AU will make its oral pleading on 6 September 2018 from 3.40 p.m.-4.20 p.m.

All African Member States and interested parties are invited to closely follow the oral hearings through the ICJ live web stream at http://www.icj-cij.org/en/multimedia-live-original

Background Note to Editors

The AU and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, has for several years, expressed concern on the unlawful excision of the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, from the territory of Mauritius by the United Kingdom, the former colonial power, prior to the independence of Mauritius, in violation of international law and UN Resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 and 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965 which prohibit colonial powers from dismembering colonial territories prior to granting independence, as well as UN Resolutions 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357(XXII) of 19 December 1967.

Subsequent to the repeated calls from Member States, in various decisions both at the AU and United Nations (UN) level, the UN General Assembly by its Resolution 71/292 requested the Court to render an advisory opinion on two questions:

“(a) Was the process of decolonization of Mauritius lawfully completed when Mauritius was granted independence in 1968, following the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius and having regard to international law, including obligations reflected in General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2066 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 2232 (XXI) of 20 December 1966 and 2357 (XXII) of 19 December 1967?”;

“(b) What are the consequences under international law, including obligations reflected in the above-mentioned resolutions, arising from the continued administration by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Chagos Archipelago, including with respect to the inability of Mauritius to implement a programme for the resettlement on the Chagos.”

Based on this, the ICJ received written pleadings from States and the AU and currently sitting for the Oral Hearings. After this hearing, the Court will take its decision on whether to give it’s opinion on the matter and if so it will decide on the merits.

This is the first time in the history of the AU to contribute in an opinion before the Court in support of one of its Member States and it is the only Organization that gave it’s opinion in the current proceedings.
For further information contact: Mrs Esther Azaa Tankou | Head of Information Division, African Union Commission | Tel: +251(0) 911361185 | E-mail: yamboue@africa-union.org / Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission |E-mail : dinfo@africa-union.org