Qatar v. United Arab Emirates


Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has successfully represented the State of Qatar in proceedings against the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) before the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”)—the principal judicial organ of the United Nations also known as the World Court—in relation to continuing human rights violations arising from the UAE’s discrimination against Qatar and Qatari citizens.


World Court orders UAE to reunite split families, Qatari students to be allowed to resume education and Qataris to have access to justice before UAE courts

Since last August, the State of Qatar has engaged the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to advise with respect to its rights and the rights of Qatari citizens and businesses under international and other law to seek relief from the coercive measures imposed by the unlawful siege by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt.

Following a three-day hearing in The Hague before the 15 judges of the Court, the Court issued an order granting Qatar’s application, pursuant to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the “CERD”), for provisional measures against the UAE in relation to continuing human rights violations arising from the UAE’s imposition of discriminatory measures against Qatar and Qatari citizens. Specifically, the Court ordered that the UAE must ensure that families including a Qatari who have been separated by its measures are reunited; Qatari students affected by the measures are given the opportunity to complete their education in the UAE or to obtain the necessary records to do so elsewhere; and Qataris affected by the measures must be allowed access to tribunals and other judicial organs. The Court ordered that the parties refrain from any actions that may aggravate the dispute during the pendency of the proceeding. As the Court stated, this decision has “binding effect” and “creates international legal obligations” with which the UAE must comply.

The Debevoise team representing Qatar on the ICJ Application was led by partners Catherine Amirfar (Picture), Donald Francis Donovan, Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC and David W. Rivkin.

Involved fees earner: Catherine Amirfar – Debevoise & Plimpton; Donald Francis Donovan – Debevoise & Plimpton; Lord Goldsmith – Debevoise & Plimpton; David Rivkin – Debevoise & Plimpton;

Law Firms: Debevoise & Plimpton;

Clients: Qatar;