Foley Hoag successfully represented the Republic of Mauritius in the case
International Court of Justice (ICJ), which agreed with Mauritius by a 13-1 vote that the Chagos Archipelago, severed from Mauritius and annexed by the United Kingdom in 1965, forms an integral part of Mauritius’ territory, and that the UK must return it to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible.”
The ICJ, also known as the World Court, sits in The Hague and is the judicial branch of the United Nations.
The Court issued its ruling in response to questions posed by the United Nations General Assembly on whether the decolonization of Mauritius, which achieved independence from the UK in 1968 minus the Chagos Archipelago, had been “lawfully completed,” and, if not, what legal consequences flow from that finding.
The Court emphatically declared, in its Advisory Opinion rendered on February 25, 2019, that the decolonization of Mauritius was never completed because of the UK’s unlawful excision of the Archipelago, that the UK’s ongoing occupation of that territory is a continuing wrongful act, and that the UK must return it to Mauritius promptly.
Mauritius, which had been seeking the recovery of its severed territory for over 50 years, hailed the Court’s decision as a complete victory, and a triumph for the international rule of law. Also celebrating the result was the 57-member African Union, which called the ruling historic for all of Africa, because the Chagos Archipelago is the only remaining part of Africa that remains under colonial occupation.
Foley Hoag advised with a team including Paul Reichler (Picture) a co-leader of Mauritius’ legal team, along with Professor Philippe Sands, QC, of University College London. Other Foley Hoag lawyers on the team were partner Andrew Loewenstein, counsel Christina Hioureas, and associates Yuri Parkhomenko and Joseph Klingler.
Law Firms: Foley Hoag;
Clients: Republic of Mauritius;