Vanuatu appearing in the International Court of Justice in the Chagos Islands Advisory Opinion proceedings

Tomorrow Vanuatu will be addressing the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), for the first time in its history.


The ICJ is hearing the advisory proceedings in respect of the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. Vanuatu is appearing to argue its principled position on the right to self-determination, consistent with its long history of support for peoples struggling for their freedom from colonisation.


Jennifer Robinson, together with Professor Robert McCoquodale of Brick Court Chambers, will be presenting Vanuatu’s oral argument. Vanuatu is also represented at the hearing by Nicola Peart of Three Crowns and Mr. Noah Patrick Kouback from the Permanent Mission of Vanuatu in Geneva.


This matter was referred to the ICJ for an advisory opinion by the UN General Assembly by the adoption of resolution A/RES/71/292 which requested the ICJ give an advisory opinion on the following 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 Archipelago of its

nationals, in particular those of Chagossian origin?”


Vanuatu joins twenty-one States and the African Union participating in the oral proceedings. These States are, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Australia, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany, Guatemala, India, Israel, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Vanuatu and Zambia.


Vanuatu will address the Court on Thursday morning at 12.20pm (BST + 1). The proceedings are streamed live online @UNWebTV

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