Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius In 1965
The International Court of Justice has unanimously ruled that the UK’s claim to sovereignty over the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean is illegal.The Chagos Archipelago was detached from Mauritius by the UK in 1965, when Mauritius was a UK colony, three years before it gained independence in 1968. The islands were turned into a new colony which the UK calls the “British Indian Ocean Territory”. All residents of the Archipelago were removed, and the largest island, Diego Garcia, was made available to the United States for a military base.The UN General Assembly asked the Court to consider two issues: firstly, whether the decolonisation of Mauritius was lawfully completed in 1965, and secondly, the legal consequences of the UK’s continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago.In their advisory opinion, the Court found that the decolonization of Mauritius was not conducted in a manner consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination thus it follows that the United Kingdom’s continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago constitutes a wrongful act.The Court concludes that the United Kingdom has an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible, and that all Member States must co-operate with the United Nations to complete the decolonization of Mauritius.
Somalia v Kenya
The ICJ rejected Kenya’s preliminary objections to the jurisdiction and admissibility of Somalia’s maritime boundary claim against Kenya. The Court will now proceed to determine the merits of Somalia’s claim.
No proof either side possessed specific intent required for acts of genocide during the Croatian war of secession from Yugoslavia
Croatia v Serbia (General List No. 118)
The International Court of Justice rejected claims of genocide by Serbia and Croatia against each other during the Croatian war of secession from Yugoslavia. The Croatian government had alleged that Serbia committed genocide in the town of Vukovar and elsewhere in 1991. Serbia later filed a counter-claim over the expulsion of more than 200,000 Serbs from Croatia. Held: both sides had carried out violent acts during the war, however, neither side had provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate the “specific intent required for acts of genocide”.