Friday, January 29, 2021

An unlawful occupation

Back in 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that UK had violated international law in its ethnic cleansing of the Chagos Islands, and ordered that they be handed back to Mauritius. The ruling was backed by the United Nations General Assembly, but ignored by the UK as it was only "advisory". But now they've been handed another - and binding - defeat, with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (which determines maritime boundaries) ruling that the islands belong to Mauritius:

The UK has been urged to end its “unlawful occupation” of the Chagos Islands by the prime minister of Mauritius, after Britain’s claim to sovereignty over the strategically important islands in the Indian Ocean was comprehensively rejected by the United Nation’s special international maritime court in Hamburg.


The rejection of the UK claim was made by the special chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which ruled that Mauritius was right to claim the Chagos Islands in line with previous international court rulings.

The judgment also determined that the Maldives could not avoid negotiating its maritime boundaries with Mauritius by saying there was a valid live dispute over the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands between the UK and Mauritius.

The UK is now going to have to decide whether it supports international law, or whether it is a rogue state. And if it chooses the latter path, the rest of the world should start on the sanctions to end this unlawful occupation.