The ICJ’s Jurisdiction in Chagos and the Role of the Advisory Opinion

The ICJ’s Jurisdiction in Chagos and the Role of the Advisory Opinion

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On February 25, 2019, the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) issued an Advisory Opinion (Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965) that concluded that the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) decolonization of Mauritius in the mid-1960s and its continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago to this day contravene international law. The ICJ’s Advisory Opinion has potent legal implications for states that were, and continue to be, colonizing powers. However, perhaps more interesting from an international law perspective, are the jurisdictional question that the case presents and the ICJ’s willingness to weigh in, through a non-binding advisory opinion, on an issue that has the flavor of a bilateral dispute.