Chagos: A boundary dispute tips over a sovereignty ruling

Author name: 
Natalie Klein
Publisher: 
The Interpreter
Year: 
2021
Month: 
February
Abstract: 

A case between Mauritius and Maldives stands on the ICJ opinion on the former’s claim to the Chagos Archipelago.

The decision last month of a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea on a maritime boundary dispute between Mauritius and the Maldives reflects two dimensions to the engagement by international courts in resolving disputes among Indian Ocean states. First, it represents the latest judicial victory for Mauritius in its efforts to reclaim the Chagos Archipelago. More broadly, it reflects an emerging trend in the judicial resolution of international maritime boundary disputes in the Indian Ocean.

The National Security College (NSC), with the support of the Department of Defence, is leading a two-year research project on Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy in the Indian Ocean. As a part of this project, this paper analyses the recent Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea decision on a maritime boundary dispute between Mauritius and the Maldives, which has implications for the Chagos Archipelago sovereignty dispute. This paper first appeared on the Lowy Institute’s ‘The Interpreter’ on 8 February 2021.

Image: Serendigity/Flickr

Publication file: 
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