ITLOS rules on Ghana-Ivory Coast dispute September

Ghana and Ivory Coast are expected to know their fate in the maritime boundary dispute by late September 2017.

The president of the Special Chamber of ITLOS in Germany Judge Boualem Bouguetaia made the announcement Thursday. It follows the conclusion of the 10-day oral submission by the two West African countries.

Members of the legal team of both countries used the opportunity to make a strong case to buttress why the President of the Special Chamber of the ITLOS should rule in their favour.

Meanwhile, the President of the Special Chamber has congratulated both teams for exhibiting professionalism during the entire duration of the hearing at Hamburg in Germany.

“I would like to express how much we have appreciated the representation made by the representatives of Ghana and Cote D‘Ivoire and I would also like to thank the agents from both countries,” he said.

“This special chamber will now withdraw for deliberation and the ruling will be delivered at the end of September, but I will not announce a specific date,” he added.

Background

Ghana went to the ITLOS in September 2014, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Cote d’Ivoire’s territorial waters.

It filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.

Cote d’Ivoire in February 2015 filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Case 23” was filed by Ghana after 10 failed negotiations.

But the Special Chamber of the ITLOS on April 25, 2015 declined to suspend production activities in the disputed area.

The Chamber at the time explained that in its view, “the suspension of ongoing activities conducted by Ghana in respect of which drilling has already taken place would entail the risk of considerable financial loss to Ghana, and its concessionaires and could also pose a serious danger to the marine environment resulting, in particular, from the deterioration of equipment.”

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