The UK voted against General Assembly resolution 73/295, based on the ICJ’s ruling on the maritime dispute with Mauritius, claiming that the two were not the appropriate fora for resolving an “essentially bilateral matter” of the disputed Sovereignty between two states.
In the 2019 decision, the ICJ said the decolonization of Mauritius was not legally complete with the secession of the Chagos Archipelago and called on Great Britain to end the administration of the islands. Despite the ruling, London retains its sovereignty over the archipelago and will only cede it when it is no longer needed for defense purposes.
The archipelago was separated from Mauritius in 1965 when it was still a British colony. According to media reports, the UK bought it for £ 3 million, creating the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The UK then leased the land to the US, which operates a large military base on the main island of Diego Garcia.
The UK said the defenses on BIOT played a vital role against terrorist threats and piracy. The site is home to one of the four GPS stations in the world, widely used for military and civil navigation.
“Any action that may affect the current or future operations of the UK and United Kingdom Joint Defense States on BIOT. affected should therefore be of concern to all states, as the facility plays an important role in maintaining regional and global peace and security – a role that Mauritius itself recognizes, ”declared the United Kingdom to the separation of the islands in return for a host of benefits including fishing rights, marine resources, £ 3 million in compensation to the government and direct compensation to landowners and other affected parties, and the obligation to cede BIOT when it is no longer needed for defense purposes.
London accused the ICJ of examining a bilateral dispute without the consent of both parties. It added that the court set a new precedent that would have wider implications for other states.
In 2018, Iran filed a lawsuit against the US with the ICJ, claiming that President Donald Trump was following sanctioned his withdrawal, a nuclear deal violated a 1955 treaty between the two countries.
In response, the Trump administration opposed a decision by the ICJ to hear the case and withdrew from the Optional Protocol and the Dispute settlement on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations between the Estates.
In 1984 the US opposed an ICJ order calling on it to end its military or paramilitary activities in or against Nicaragua because it violated the obligations of Had violated customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another state.
The court had already Issued interim orders calling on the USA to immediately stop and refrain from all measures to restrict access to Nicaraguan ports and in particular the laying of mines. It also urged the US to respect Nicaraguans’ right to sovereignty and political independence.
However, the US withdrew from the case after filing its motions. Before the case could be closed, Nicaragua notified the court of its wish to drop the case, a decision welcomed by the US.
The ICJ is the United Nations’ highest dispute settlement court between nations, but it has no power to enforce them. This has led some arguing countries to ignore cases they have brought against each other in the past.