UK Rejects International Court of Justice Opinion on the Chagos Islands 885


In parliament, Alan Duncan for the government has just rejected yesterday’s stunning result at the International Court of Justice, where British occupation of the Chagos Islands was found unlawful by a majority of 13 to 1, with all the judges from EU countries amongst those finding against the UK.

This represents a serious escalation in the UK’s rejection of multilateralism and international law and a move towards joining the US model of exceptionalism, standing outside the rule of international law. As such, it is arguably the most significant foreign policy development for generations. In the Iraq war, while Britain launched war without UN Security Council authority, it did so on a tenuous argument that it had Security Council authority from earlier resolutions. The UK was therefore not outright rejecting the international system. On Chagos it is now simply denying the authority of the International Court of Justice; this is utterly unprecedented.

Duncan put forward two arguments. Firstly that the ICJ opinion was “only” advisory to the General Assembly. Secondly, he argued that the ICJ had no jurisdiction as the case was a bilateral dispute with Mauritius (and thus could only go before the ICJ with UK consent, which is not given).

But here Duncan is – against all British precedent and past policy – defying a ruling of the ICJ. The British government argued strenuously in the present case against ICJ jurisdiction, on just the grounds Duncan cited. The ICJ considered the UK’s arguments, together with arguments from 32 other states and from the African Union. The ICJ ruled that it did have jurisdiction, because this was not a bilateral dispute but part of the UN ordained process of decolonisation.

The International Court of Justice’s ruling on this point is given at length in paras 83 to 91 of its Opinion. This is perhaps the key section:

88. The Court therefore concludes that the opinion has been requested on the matter of decolonization which is of particular concern to the United Nations. The issues raised by the request are located in the broader frame of reference of decolonization, including the General Assembly’s role therein, from which those issues are inseparable (Western Sahara, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1975, p. 26, para. 38; Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 2004 (I), p. 159, para. 50).
89. Moreover, the Court observes that there may be differences of views on legal questions in advisory proceedings (Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970), Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1971, p. 24, para. 34). However, the fact that the Court may have to pronounce on legal issues on which divergent views have been expressed by Mauritius and the United Kingdom does not mean that, by replying to the request, the Court is dealing with a bilateral dispute.
90. In these circumstances, the Court does not consider that to give the opinion requested would have the effect of circumventing the principle of consent by a State to the judicial settlement of its dispute with another State. The Court therefore cannot, in the exercise of its discretion, decline to give the opinion on that ground.
91. In light of the foregoing, the Court concludes that there are no compelling reasons for it to decline to give the opinion requested by the General Assembly.

As stated at para 183, that the court did have jurisdiction was agreed unanimously, with even the US judge (the sole dissenter on the main question) in accord. For the British government to reject the ICJ’s unanimous ruling on jurisdiction, and quote that in parliament as the reason for not following the ICJ Opinion, is an astonishing abrogation of international law by the UK. It really is unprecedented. The repudiation of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention over Julian Assange pointed the direction the UK is drifting, but that body does not have the prestige of the International Court of Justice.

The International Court of Justice represents the absolute pinnacle of, and embodies the principle of, international law. In 176 decisions, such as Nigeria vs Cameroon or Malaysia vs Indonesia, potentially disastrous conflicts have been averted by the states’ agreement to abide by the rule of law. The UK’s current attack on the ICJ is a truly disastrous new development.

I have taken it for granted that you know that the reason the UK refuses to decolonise the Chagos Islands is to provide an airbase for the US military on Diego Garcia. If Brexit goes ahead, the Chagos Islands will also lead to a major foreign policy disagreement between the UK and US on one side, and the EU on the other. The EU will be truly shocked by British repudiation of the ICJ.

I have studied the entire and lengthy ICJ Opinion on the Chagos Islands, together with its associated papers, and I will write further on this shortly.

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885 thoughts on “UK Rejects International Court of Justice Opinion on the Chagos Islands

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  • Vinnie Pooh

    As E. H. Carr has formulated in the 1930’s, in the absence of an enforcement mechanism International Law simply doesn’t exist, it is a fiction. What we perceive as International Law is a codification of power balance that suits the strongest players. If such codification stops suiting the strongest players, or the power balance shifts, the International Law is simply ignored.

      • Vinnie Pooh

        Oh yes? How do you enforce, or for that matter, Russia or China or the UK, to do anything? Say, evacuate Chagos?

        • Martinned

          You impose sanctions, you send in a UN peacekeeping force or a UN intervention force, etc. The fact that, realistically, the P5 would block a particular enforcement mechanism in the Security Council doesn’t mean that the enforcement mechanism doesn’t exist.

          • Vinnie Pooh

            that’s called spherical horse in space assumption. the P5 is there exactly for that purpose – to block any “enforcement mechanism”, i.e. it doesn’t exist, qed.

          • Ingwe

            Yes, Martinned, you send in a UN intervention force,,or a UN peacekeeping force, unless you’re Israel or the U.K. when you’re free just to ignore the many UN resolutions passed against it.
            As Vinnie Pooh says the notion of international law is toothless without an effective enforcement mechanism, one which treats all nations in the world equally. No exceptionalism. So international law doesn’t apply to the USA, the U.K. and Israel unless they choose to apply it. Everyone else is expected to follow the rules. Don’tcha know it’s a new world rules based system?

    • Lori

      I have to agree; there are no consequences. Little states are one thing; the UK backed by the US in mutual, future interests, is another.

  • Martinned

    This case is a tricky one. I agree that the ICJ (unlike the panel that gave an opinion about Julian Assange’s “detention”) is a court, and that its judgments and opinions have the force of law. But yes, this was an advisory opinion and not a judgment, so it does not bind the UK, which was not a party before the court. Then again, that essentially puts the UK in the same position as states other than Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Technically the other states weren’t bound by that judgment, but realistically they absolutely were.

    As for substance, having read the judgment, I thought it was quite weak, since it only cites UN General Assembly resolutions to show that the relevant customary international law existed at the relevant time. That is not how CIL is supposed to work. For example, a more thorough analysis would have included an analysis of how the UK invoked self determination on behalf of the Sudan when Egypt wanted to annex it in 1947. That’s certainly evidence that the UK accepted self-determination as a rule of CIL almost 20 years before Mauritius became independent.

    https://www.ejiltalk.org/anticipating-the-chagos-advisory-opinion-the-forgotten-history-of-the-uks-invocation-of-the-right-to-self-determination-for-the-sudan-in-the-1940s/comment-page-1/

    So in the end, the Minister is quite right to say that “Britain will consider the view of the World Court on control of the Chagos Islands but the dispute is with Mauritius and should be resolved bilaterally”, as long as “consider” means “accept that the ICJ has the authority to say what the law is”. The advisory opinion goes back to the General Assembly, but the UNGA does not have the power to do anything about the Chagos Islands. So yes, it is a matter that should be resolved bilaterally between Mauritius and the UK.

    • Herbie

      There’s no veto over UNGA, and they can recommend that member states take their own action against the UK.

      Should be fun.

      I mean, you don’t just run around the world acting like a gangster when you can’t back it up with hard power.

      • Martinned

        Yes. They can recommend. But they can’t do anything legally binding.

        (Whether that is the cause or the consequence of the amount of stupid stuff they do is a question for another time.)

        • Herbie

          The point is that any number of members can now take what will be lawful action against the UK in line with an UNGA recommendation.

          That could turn out to be a big problem for both the UK and US.

          Plays right into the Eurasianists hands, doesn’t it.

          • Martinned

            If that’s true, that would be because of the ICJ’s finding that the UK’s ongoing administration of the Chagos Islands is an internationally wrongful act. The UNGA can’t change the lawfulness of anyone’s actions.

          • Herbie

            No. The lawfulness of member states actions arises because the UK is itself in breach.

            Whatever UNGA recommends to those states will be lawful.

          • Martinned

            @Herbie: The first bit is essentially the same as I said, but with the definitions swapped around a bit.

            As for the second bit, no, things won’t be lawful just because the UNGA recommends it. If the UNGA recommended that India should invade the islands, that would be illegal, for example.

          • Herbie

            They won’t recommend invasion.

            But whatever they do recommend shall become lawful.

            And it’ll be lawful because of the ICJ judgement.

            So actions that would be unlawful without the judgement and UNGA recommendation will become lawful.

            So, this is a much bigger problem for UK than you’ve made out.

            And again, it plays right into the hands of Eurasionists.

      • Herbie

        The point I’m making here is that members, on foot of an UNGA recommendation, can take lawful action against the UK without going through UNSC.

        The UK can be penalised until it submits to the decision.

        It has much more force than you allow.

        • Martinned

          No they cannot. Neither here nor anywhere else does the UNGA have the power to make something lawful that isn’t already lawful anyway. Whatever actions a UN member might want to take regarding the Chagos Islands has to be lawful under the pre-existing law of state liability for internationally unlawful acts, etc.

          • Herbie

            Yeah, that which members wouldn’t ordinarily be lawfully allowed to do, they can now do, so long as UNGA recommends it.

            It’s a much bigger deal than you make out.

          • Herbie

            It’s a bit like the UNSC.

            Their decisions can make lawful that which would have been unlawful without their permission.

          • Martinned

            So Herbie, what’s the General Assembly equivalent of art. 39 of the Charter?

            Article 39
            The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

  • djm

    The EU will be truly shocked by British repudiation of the ICJ………

    Oh do give over, you drama queen

  • Clark

    I cannot formulate a way to express adequately my disgust and dismay at the appalling arrogance and exceptionalism of this reaction by the UK government.

    • freddy

      Clark, have you tried swearing? You must know what you can say.

      You can’t “formulate” your emotions, can you?

  • Chick McGregor

    So they will choose pariah state status rather than let Scotland go.

    Question is now, what will the rest of the World do about it?

    • Martinned

      Given that Scotland had a referendum and voted remain, and given that Scotland is not a colony because it participates fully in the political decision making of the UK, this opinion is of limited relevance to the cause of Scottish independence.

      • Republicofscotland

        “because it participates fully in the political decision making of the UK, ”

        Ha, ha, Martinned you really are out of touch, Scotland has no say whatsoever on the details of Brexit.

        • Martinned

          So the 3,987,112 Scots who voted in the Brexit referendum and the 59 MPs representing Scottish constituencies who vote in the weekly meaningful or meaningless votes in the Commons are just imagining things?

          • Republicofscotland

            35 MP’s Martinned the others represent Westminster via their constituencies, in layman’s terms they vote against the Scottish governments MP’S no matter the dire consequences of the outcome to Scots, or Scotland.

            However, even the anti-Scottish MP’s posing as Scots MP’s aren’t involved in Brexit talks in anyway, even the most ardent Judas David Mundell, isnt privy to cabinet talks on Brexit.

          • Martinned

            Wait, so you’re telling me that 24 of Scotland’s 59 MPs are somehow not elected by their constituents? That will be news to those constituents.

          • Republicofscotland

            Yes they’re elected, however, they’re not working in the interests of Scotland as such.

            Scots MP’s and MSP’s are divided between those who are loyal to a foreign government (Westminster) and those that are loyal to their own country’s government (Holyrood). The UK set up (union) is in the processing of erosion, the sooner the better if you ask me.

          • Martinned

            They’re not elected to act in the interest in Scotland. All 59 Scottish MPs are elected to work in the interest of the UK, as they see it, and in the interest of their constituents.

          • N_

            @RoS – “35 MP’s Martinned the others represent Westminster via their constituencies, in layman’s terms they vote against the Scottish governments MP’S no matter the dire consequences of the outcome to Scots, or Scotland.

            All MPs are elected by their constituents on the same basis, inside and outside Scotland. The Scottish government doesn’t send any MPs to Westminster. And turnout figures show that more Scots care about who gets sent to Westminster than who gets sent to Holyrood. It’s almost as if you’re saying that Scots who vote for Unionist parties in a British general election are disloyal to the Scottish government.

          • Republicofscotland

            “It’s almost as if you’re saying that Scots who vote for Unionist parties in a British general election are disloyal to the Scottish government.”

            Not quite, the MP’s they vote for Labour, LibDem, Tory, are in my opinion, disloyal to Scotland. They make a point to vote against the SNP 35, who in my opinion are working in Scottish interests at Westminster.

        • Mary Pau!

          But surely the 59 Scottish MPs were all elected by Scots living in Scottish constituencies? or is RoS idea of democracy that of a one party state? Where you can only vote for one party, the SNP?

          • Republicofscotland

            “But surely the 59 Scottish MPs were all elected by Scots living in Scottish constituencies?”

            They were indeed, but does that necessarily equate to the other 24 outwith the SNP working in the interests of Scotland?

  • Anthony

    C4 invited a young student on last night to try and convey the Chagoan POV with Jon Snow trying to suggest they would be worse off under villainous Mauritian rule and deriding the notion the Americans should vacate the island for the Chagoans to return. It was very at odds with his outrage on behalf of “the people” of Venezuela, east Aleppo, Benghazi and so on.

    • Herbie

      Yeah. That’s the way the msm fraud works.

      Their only concern is for the victims of the state’s enemies.

      If your victimhood is a result of the actions of the UK or a friend, then you’re on your own.

      Complete con.

  • Alasdair Macdonald

    This decision by Mr Duncan will go down well with the Brexit British Bulldog Brigade telling foreigners to ‘Fuck off!’ It is at one with Mr Sajid Javid’s reprehensible action in removing a young woman’s UK citizenship and the pretend Secretary of State for Defence threatening to use an aircraft carrier to wage destruction along the coast of other powers (viz China).

    It is xenophobia. It is an exemplification of Gramsci’s view: The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.

    These are ‘morbid symptoms’

  • Bibbit

    A worrying return to ‘gunboat diplomacy’.

    All part of little England’s ‘body politic dysmorphic disorder’.

    England is just a wee moggie cat but, when it looks in the mirror, it thinks it sees a lion.

  • Republicofscotland

    The British hypocrites, bleat on about Putin and the Crimea, yet they can’t lead by example. Mind you the Great Satan (The US) more than likely compelled its most obedient minion to thoroughly reject it.

    The Great Satan’s staging post is there to stay, the Chagossian’s haven’t a hope in hell of returning home.

    • Martinned

      Given how many Chagossians have since ended up in the UK, I’m not sure why they’d want to. The UK has many flaws, but living here must surely be better than subsistence fishing/farming on some godforsaken island in the Indian ocean.

      • Rob Royston

        There’s a funny joke out there about the island fisherman and the holidaying economist.

      • Republicofscotland

        Oh dear Martinned attempting to put yourself into the shoes of Chagossians, and come up with the huge assumption that they’re better off living above a Chinese restaurant in Watford looking out on a wet Tuesday night in November, is better than their homeland, is at best egotistical on your part.

        No offence meant against Watford, or Chinese restaurants. They’re merely meant as examples.

      • Akos Horvath

        And I think we should put citizens of your gangster state into Guantanamo, because it surely is better than living in your crumbling houses with 19th century plumbing on a godforsaken wet, foggy, and dull island. Western European racism has been stewed to perfection by hundreds of years of imperialism. The sad thing is you don’t even realize your utter arrogance. I hope the Brits are gone from the EU ASAP. One less traditional torturer of the planet and total American bootlicker amongst us can only make us more civilized.

        • Herbie

          Yeah well. I think we know what Westminster is all about. After all, we suffered under their rule before they got out and at the rest of the world.

          And it’s not just the Irish, Scottish and Welsh.

          Oh no.

          They’re now shafting the north of England, the Midlands and many parts of London.

          I know. Kick Westminster and the City out and let the rest of us stay in.

          Most of us aren’t arrogant at all. Quite the contrary.

          We’re just subject peoples and we want to be free.

      • Borncynical

        @Martinned

        You’re all heart, aren’t you? To some people there are more important things in life than money and material possessions.

        What you seem to be overlooking is that this initiative for the Chagossians to return to their homeland is not simply a political, territorial battle between the UK and Mauritius. It is the Chagossian people themselves, not politicians, who formed themselves into campaigning groups decades ago to draw attention to their plight. They actually have little regard for whether they are “owned” by the UK or Mauritius, they just want to return to the ‘godforsaken’ islands, which they were banished from by the UK simply for the sole purpose of keeping the US happy. I lived in Mauritius in 2003/4 and the plight of the Chagossians received significant ongoing media coverage with focus on the UK’s dispassionate refusal to acknowledge their predicament. It was clear that they were passionate about returning to the islands, especially the first generation ‘evacuees’ who wanted to be able to return there for their final years; it was genuinely heart breaking to see their distress. I haven’t read through the details of the latest legal judgements on this case but I would not be at all surprised if the Mauritius Government is battling to have the islands returned to them on a technicality simply so they can assume the authority to grant the Chagossians their wish to return to the islands.

      • Ray Raven

        Is that why you pommie gits like you holiday in sunny climates (no, not the English Riviera), and if you can afford it retire to sub-tropical or tropical climates.
        All because the UK is so effen great ?

  • Tony

    Their animals were killed to persuade them to leave.
    In return for allowing the USA to have a base there, the Labour government of Harold Wilson got a discount on the purchase of Polaris nuclear missiles.

    Utterly shameful on so many levels.

    I wonder when Mike Gapes MP and Rachel Reeves MP will demand action.

  • Herbie

    I suppose there’ll have to be substantial reparations to Mauritius as well.

    Those who are running the UK through the Cabinet Office don’t appear to have the UK’s best interests at heart.

    Looking a lot like the US and France and Sweden in that regard. And others.

    Complete incompetence and running everything into the ground.

    • Casual Observer

      They’ve already been paid, £3 million back in the day when the Chagos were separated from their domain. On top of which they were paid for every Chagossian they took on board when Diego Garcia was cleared of its last ‘Native’ inhabitants.

      Whilst this is an excellent opportunity for synthetic outrage, and the demonstration of British Tyranny, it would be a good idea to bone up on the particulars of Diego Garcia, the only inhabitable atoll in the Chagos archipelago ? The place is Tiny, like really Tiny, and the 1957 population of just over a thousand probably now numbers 6 times that many, with 3000 living in the area of Crawley alone. Clearly any repatriation would be impossible for all of those with a claim ?

      To all of that might be added the problems of maintaining a population so far from any major land mass ? Would they be replenished from Mauritius which itself is entirely dependant on South Africa ? And what would the returning ‘Victims’ be doing for an economy ? the very limited size of the place rules out living off the alms of tourism.

      The realities of the Chagos Islands and the ruling seem to indicate that whilst the UK is getting a foretaste of its position in the world outside of the EU, talk of righting historical wrongs in this instance are so outweighed by the practicalities, that such talk becomes nothing more than posturing or virtue signalling.

      • Herbie

        “They’ve already been paid, £3 million back in the day when the Chagos were separated from their domain.”

        Ehhhhh.

        That would have been under duress. A forced sale.

        Doesn’t the judgement say anything about that?

        So you’re still looking at reparations, I’m afraid.

        Ultimately though, It’s about the territory itself and all the territorial rights that go with that.

        Wondering now if there’s any downside for the Chinese in this.

        • Casual Observer

          Given their remoteness from the territory, if we can call such small areas such, I dare say they thought it a good deal at the time ? Remember that back then the idea of Mauritius gaining economic benefits from masses of well heeled tourists would have been regarded as utterly fantastic. Indeed at the time the Chagos would have been akin to Tracy Island, the then topical base of International Rescue. They were probably glad to be rid of the responsibilities regarding the maintenance of territorial integrity, which they would have struggled to perform at the time.

          It might even be the case that the some of the folk who have a dog in this fight today, view the issue as a means of financial gain rather than territorial aggrandisement. Certainly, if push comes to shove they could well be right as the Yanks would no doubt pay to retain their isolated outpost ?

          • Herbie

            Your first para wouldn’t be considered in terms of this case

            “It might even be the case that the some of the folk who have a dog in this fight today, view the issue as a means of financial gain rather than territorial aggrandisement.”

            You don’t call it “territorial aggrandisement” when a state is making a claim for the return of part of its territory.

            That applies more to the UK, doesn’t it.

            “Certainly, if push comes to shove they could well be right as the Yanks would no doubt pay to retain their isolated outpost ?”

            That would be very interesting, but not from a financial pov, which is trivial in terms of the stakes.

            India could use it as a means to put pressure on China and its BRI.

            Dunno, The Eurasian project has had a remarkably fair wind behind it so far.

            We’ll know in time.

          • craig Post author

            Casual Observer plainly hasn’t read the judgement, which lists precisely all the compensation paid and notes it was accepted in a situation of extreme duress, and rightly dismisses it.

  • Herbie

    And with India backing the Mauritians, there’s quite a lot of pressure that can be applied to the UK, and by extension the US.

  • Ascot2

    My understanding is that this case includes reasserting the “right of return” of the Chagoans ( based in part on rights established by the Magna Carta ).
    It should set an indisputable precedent for Palestinian “Right of Return” to their legally owned properties in Israel.

    • Martinned

      That understanding is wrong. Nothing in the ICJ’s opinion is about anyone’s right to live anywhere.

      As for the Palestinians and their properties in Israel, the more obvious precedent is the ECtHR’s case law on properties in North Cyprus owned by Repblic of Cyprus citizens. There are lots of cases about North Cyprus properties, occasionally with seriously awkward consequences for gullible non-Cypriots buying those properties while living elsewhere in Europe.

      • craig Post author

        The judgement specifically hands the question of the human rights of the Chagossians back to the UN General Assembly. That is going certainly to lead to an assertion of their right to return, but it hasn’t happened yet. Martinned is being as curmudgeonly and minimalist as possible about this Opinion and I suggest everyone ignores him.

        • Ingwe

          Ignore Martinned, I agree. I think he must be employed by the Treasury Solocitor’s office he’s so animated about this matter. He’s trying to put some positive spin on a humiliating defeat for the U.K. Government. Maybe Trump or Pompeo will put some salve on the smarting bottom of UK “justice”.

        • Martinned

          As you will have noticed if you read the opinion (and the concurrences), the formulation of the question and the answers is very carefully chosen. Mauritius arranged for the questions, as stated, to carefully avoid the word “sovereignty”, and to certainly avoid any reference to the Chagossians’ rights as individuals. The question concerns the lawfulness of the continued administration of the Chagos Islands by the UK, and the answer is that this continued administration is not lawful, and is in fact an internationally unlawful act. This finding may well, as you say, lead to various people expressing opinions about the Chagossians’ right to return, but this was not part of the issues put before the ICJ. (For good reasons of litigation strategy.)

          • craig Post author

            And as you will see, the ICJ specifically remit the question of the rights of the Chagossians back to the UNGA. Where the outcome is hardly in doubt. Here it is in the judgement:

            181. As regards the resettlement on the Chagos Archipelago of Mauritian nationals, including those of Chagossian origin, this is an issue relating to the protection of the human rights of those concerned, which should be addressed by the General Assembly during the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius.

            Have you really read the judgement, Martinned?

          • Martinned

            @Craig: Thank you for quoting the relevant paragraph. If you read it again, you will see that nothing is being “remitted” there. The ICJ is simply reiterating that the resettlement of the Chagossians is an issue not covered by its opinion, but rather something that continues to be for the UNGA to discuss (or not) as it sees fit.

            (It’s not a “should” in the sense of “the UNGA has an obligation to discuss this”, but rather in the sense of “this is an issue that belongs with the UNGA and not with us, at least not today”.)

          • Martinned

            P.S. To explain better:

            Note that there is nothing about the relocation of the Chagossians in the operative paragraph, par. 183.

            Note also the language saying that “The United Kingdom has an obligation to […]” in par. 178 and par. 182, no such language appears in par. 181.

            As for whether the outcome in the General Assembly is in doubt, I’d note that the issue of the Chagos Islands wasn’t discussed at all in the UNGA (or the UNSC) between 1968 and 2014. It is quite likely that it won’t appear on the UNGA agenda again for the next few decades. (It depends on whether someone influential is in the mood to stick it to the Brits or not.)

          • Martinned

            P.S. The UK Human Rights blog has now also published a post on the judgment.

            https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2019/03/04/now-a-win-for-the-chagossians/

            [The ICJ] did so by considering that the question from the General Assembly concerned decolonization in which “the General Assembly has a long and consistent record in seeking to bring colonialism to an end” rather than being about a resolution of a territorial dispute between two states. This evaded the inevitable consequence of its finding that decolonization process concerned was illegal, meaning that either the UK has no sovereignty over the archipelago, or it does have sovereignty but is obliged to hand over sovereignty to Mauritius.

      • FranzB

        There was also a process gone through when the Berlin wall fell. With West Germans returning to East Germany to reclaim property. There was a play about a W. German who claimed an E. german property only for it to be revealed that the W. German was an ex Nazi who had appropriated a property from a Jewish woman in the 1930s – who turned up to reclaim the house.

        https://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/05/world/anguish-of-east-germans-grows-with-property-claims-by-former-owners.html
        https://www.timesofisrael.com/last-chance-for-heirs-to-property-in-ex-east-germany/

  • nevermind

    I wonder what anybody, never mind a lawyer, who’s irrelevance has become obvious with this awful judgement, would say if they are banned from the country of their birth and forced, under arms, to never ever visiting the graves of their ancestors again…

    We might as well go back to summary justice, forget about paying lawyers/courts to open their gob and just take the decision of a jury as gospel -law.
    Allow pirates in UK waters -preying on EU fishing boats?
    Confiscate all gold reserves in the bank of England? well, we are halfway there.
    Forget about adopting EU environmental law into UK law?, what the heck, abolish all laws, cause that is whats gonna happen now.

    • Martinned

      To quote the opinion:

      116. In the oral proceedings, the United Kingdom reiterated that it “fully accepts that the manner in which the Chagossians were removed from the Chagos Archipelago, and the way they were treated thereafter, was shameful and wrong, and it deeply regrets that fact”.

    • pete

      Whenever I read material written by lawyers I am minded of the quote, summarised here on enotes:
      “In 1987, three Supreme Court Justices convened for a mock trial, in which representatives of the poetaster Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (1550–1604), challenged Shakespeare’s authorship of the plays. The president of American University in Washington, D.C., which sponsored the event, “drew some nervous laughter from the legal contingent in the crowd,” the New York Times reported, “when he yielded to the temptation to quote the world’s most-quoted English author (whoever he was) by saying, ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. . . .'” Unsurprisingly, the justices ruled in favor of the Bard of Avon”:
      https://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/lets-kill-all-lawyers

        • Charles Bostock

          No again. Sanctions can only be applied following a Security Council resolution. And such a draft resolution would fail because there would be UK and US vetos. And probably French and Russian vetos as well.

      • Ray Raven

        Why not,?
        The UK govt wants to unilaterally expel one of its citizens and make her stateless (don’t understand why, after all she was working for the IFUKUS proxy – Daesh).
        The US in collusion with the UK (and others) wants to unilaterally appoint the govt of Venezuela in total contradiction of the will of the Venezuela’s citizens (ie. the current democratically elected govt).
        If the UK wants to do whatever it wishes, then the UN should do whatever it wishes.
        The actions of the UK clearly show that it has no interest in abiding by the so-called International Law.
        The UK is going to send a gunboat to thraten China (to try and surrepticiously retake HK ?). What next, impose opium onto the Chinese (the UK’s master now controls the production thereof, in the locality that the poms were growing it earlier on)? What is old is new again for the UK?

  • John Goss

    “I have taken it for granted that you know that the reason the UK refuses to decolonise the Chagos Islands is to provide an airbase for the US military on Diego Garcia. If Brexit goes ahead, the Chagos Islands will also lead to a major foreign policy disagreement between the UK and US on one side, and the EU on the other. The EU will be truly shocked by British repudiation of the ICJ.”

    This is yet another reason why Brexit must not be allowed to go ahead. We need a higher judicial body than our own supreme court. Anybody who followed the Julian Assange case knows this. Today we are in a position whereby a coroner’s inquest can be replaced by a public inquiry as in the Litvinenko case. All this was brought into force because the Hutton Inquiry was illegal under UK law at the time but the government did not want an inquest into Dr David Kelly’s death. How things have changed in this beloved country of mine!

  • Republicofscotland

    Tragic stories retold, of how the Chagossians were forced from their homes, virtually with just the clothes on their backs.

    “The administrator told us we had to board the ship, leaving everything, leaving all our personal belongings behind except a few clothes and go. When we boarded the ship, conditions in the hull of the ship were bad. We were like animals and slaves in that ship.”

    “People were dying of sadness in that ship. And as for me I was four months pregnant at that time. The ship took four days to reach Mauritius. After our arrival, my child was born and died.”

    https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/26/its-heartbreaking-the-chagos-islanders-forced-into-exile?__twitter_impression=true

  • N_

    The mass media are currently giving huge coverage to a “suicide game” aimed at children. (I’m not going to post the name of it here.) They’re not saying “it’s great” of course, any more than Google and Yahoo explicitly say “click here for a great time” when they publish headlines such as “Baby falls on railway tracks in shock accident”.

    Clue: don’t let children use smartphones. And don’t use them yourselves. They’re like tobacco or heroin: children are often influenced by what you do more than by what you say.

    Twenty years ago, few would have to be given this obviously sensible advice.

    • N_

      For all the discourse about election propaganda, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Pepe and Kekistan, Russian trolls, etc. etc., there are so few who even begin to verbalise an understanding that there can be, and often is, one message on top and another message underneath.

      If unclear about where to start, maybe start by reading Eric Berne’s Games People Play.

  • mark golding

    Let us recall that US bombers used Diego Garcia to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. The airbase also functioned as a CIA black-site, upon which US secret services detained “high-value suspects” with the “full cooperation” of the UK government.

  • Roderick Russell

    The UK’s fundamental overriding law is the wishes of the establishment (the 1% of 1%) – that’s why the UK doesn’t have a written constitution, since it might complicate things. If one wishes to have a free and democratic society, one needs to tackle constitutional reform first.

    • SA

      Plus one wants to be a subject, one wants equality in the law for all and no prerogatives and privileges by birth or patronage. One wants a fully elected parliament and head of state. Britain is aspiring to democracy, its about 50% there.

  • John2o2o

    Well, I cannot say I am shocked. And other tentacles of this Tory monstrosity inhabiting our corridors of power have the bare faced gall to call out the Russian Federation for violations of the “rules-based international order”.

    I sincerely hope that the Kremlin will be returning this challenge with interest. This current Tory government and people like Duncan are truly vile, repugnant wretches.

  • Monster

    The Chagos Islands should be added to Putin’s list of targets for his hypersonic missiles. No one would probably notice the ash cloud, so it wouldn’t be worth even publicising it.

  • Terence callachan

    The UK ,USA and Israel move ever closer to being a union .They will have the support of Australia and Canada it remains to be seen what other countries will join the group.
    The aim of the group is to maintain USA global power which is being diluted by the joint actions of China and Russia and the independence of the EU.

    • PERMINDEX

      Gee, who could have predicted that union? The REAL Axis of Evil.

      “One of the most intriguing aspects of Astor’s career, usually ignored [cough/hint], is that he served with the covert military intelligence force, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), during the war and thereafter maintained close links with British intelligence. Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that in 1944 Astor…”

      “I was obviously keen to ask Astor about Orwell’s possible links with intelligence. Perhaps not surprisingly he adamantly denied them. But Dorril does record that Orwell attended the first conference in Paris of the Committee for European Federation, bringing together resistance groups from around Europe, probably on behalf of Astor. Significantly, most of the men Orwell met in Paris (Malcolm Muggeridge, the philosopher AJ Ayer, Ernest Hemingway, and Harold Acton) had links to intelligence.”

      – Professor Richard Lance Keeble
      https://orwellsocietyblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/orwell-astor-and-me/

    • Je

      A union? The Israelis despise Britain… that’s what makes the sycophancy of the British establishment so ironic.
      *
      The BBC have gone overboard this morning with more Labour-is-anti-semitic propaganda misrepresenting Chris Williamson…

  • mark golding

    First, they tried to shoot the dogs [most trained to catch fish]. Next, they tried to poison them with strychnine. When both failed as efficient killing methods, British government agents and U.S. Navy personnel used raw meat to lure the pets into a sealed shed. Locking them inside, they gassed the howling animals with exhaust piped in from U.S. military vehicles. Then, setting coconut husks ablaze, they burned the dogs’ carcasses as their owners were left to watch and ponder their own fate.

    The Truth About Diego Garcia:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-vine/the-truth-about-diego-gar_b_7585546.html

  • fwl

    No one has mentioned that Diego has something in common with post WWII UK i.e. both found a new role as fixed location air craft carriers.

    Difference being that the Chagossians all had to leave home but we didn’t.

    Why was it so necessary for everyone to leave Diego? Maybe because it was so small.

    Why not just build a Chinese style military island nearby within Diego’s international waters and allow the Chagossians home to the original island base to return to island life or work on the nearby base if they wish.

    Not ideal but a compromise.

      • SA

        Why just not dismantle the base and go away? Do we need to replace such obscene manifestations of arrogance and greed?

      • Ray Raven

        Why should the US and/or the UK be anywhere on the other side of the world ?
        Both should return from whence they came.

    • Mr V

      Except these were not “natives” by a long shot mate, these islands were detached from their parent country in the exact same manner as chagos islands, the natives were likewise purged in the same manner, and replaced by transplanted settlers 9000 km away from their country. They frankly should be decolonized too…

  • Antonym

    Best is for the US to leave. Then Xi China or Salman Saudi Arabia can take over, just like they tried with neighbor atoll group the Maldives. Both are well knows respecters of Human (or straight-male) rights.

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