UK’s ‘colonial’ stance over Chagos Islands might derail court docket bid

UK’s ‘colonial’ stance over Chagos Islands might derail court docket bid

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</div><figcaption class={Photograph}: Dai Kurokawa/EPA

The UK’s “colonial method” to the Chagos Islands could but injury hopes {that a} British QC will likely be appointed chief prosecutor on the worldwide legal court docket in succession to Fatou Bensouda.

Karim Khan is the present favorite for the place. However the UK’s refusal to recognise two antagonistic worldwide court docket judgments on the possession of the Chagos Islands, a British claimed territory within the Indian Ocean, has stymied plans for consensus to construct round Khan for the put up.

Members of the UN’s Meeting of State Events, the administration oversight physique of the ICC, have now agreed to carry a secret poll during which Khan and two different candidates, from Eire and Spain, are nominated.

The Mauritius ambassador to the UN, Jagdish Koonjul, wrote on Monday to all of the related UN delegations expressing his alarm on the UK’s method to worldwide regulation.

He mentioned that he was prompted to behave after receiving information of a press release from Britain’s Ministry of Defence saying the UK wouldn’t act on a ruling by the UN maritime tribunal affirming that Mauritius – and never the UK – was sovereign over Chagos Islands.

Koonjul instructed the Guardian: “75 years in the past the UK was on the entrance of organising the establishments of the UN, and the significance of compliance with the worldwide rule of regulation, in addition to the necessity to full decolonisation.

“We discover it so disappointing that the UK has now taken a place that’s 180 levels reverse. It makes it very onerous for the UK to assert a proper to run worldwide our bodies just like the ICC. Its delicate energy is so weakened.”

The brand new chief prosecutor will likely be a important determine within the years forward because the ICC tries to take care of credibility and status by bringing extra instances to profitable prosecution – in addition to navigating delicate points comparable to jurisdiction over conflict crimes in Palestine. A British head of the ICC would even be a diplomatic enhance for the UK in a post-Brexit world.

Mauritius claims the UK has not accepted two worldwide tribunal rulings on possession of the islands, together with one issued final month by the UN’s maritime tribunal. Diego Garcia, one of many islands within the archipelago, is used as a US navy base.

The particular chamber of the worldwide maritime court docket (Worldwide Tribunal for the Legislation of the Sea) on 28 January discovered the UK had no sovereignty over the Chagos islands, saying a earlier advisory ruling made by the Worldwide Courtroom of Justice (ICJ) did have authorized impact and that “whereas the method of decolonization has but to be accomplished, Mauritius’ sovereignty over the Chagos archipelago might be inferred from the ICJ’s determinations”.

Koonjul referred to a brand new parliamentary written reply from defence minister James Heappey during which he asserted the maritime court docket ruling had no affect on the UK, for the reason that case had been taken by Mauritius towards the Maldives.

Within the reply Heappey wrote: “We’ve little doubt about our sovereignty over the territory of the British Indian Ocean Territory, which has been below steady British sovereignty since 1814.

“Mauritius has by no means held sovereignty over the Archipelago, and we don’t recognise its declare. We’ve made a long-standing dedication to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it’s now not required for defence functions. We stand by that dedication. Owing to the UK’s sovereignty over the territory, the prevailing legal guidelines and laws inside its 12 nautical mile territorial sea are these enacted in governance of a British abroad territory. The home legal guidelines and laws of Mauritius don’t apply.”

The shadow overseas secretary, Lisa Nandy, in a letter to the overseas secretary, Dominic Raab, mentioned the UK place “is damaging to Britain’s popularity, undermines your credibility and ethical authority and units a dangerous precedent that others could seize upon to undermine UK nationwide pursuits, and people of our allies, in different contexts or maritime disputes”.

She added: “I’m additionally troubled to be taught that the federal government’s place on the Chagos Islands has been met with severe concern by worldwide allies who’ve lengthy seemed to the UK as a dependable companion however have discovered the federal government’s current actions to fall nicely wanting your rhetoric.”

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