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Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary Between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives)
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2021-07-21, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2021.24
Craig D. Gaver

On January 28, 2021, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) dismissed all of the respondent's preliminary objections in Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary Between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives). The proceeding arose out of Mauritius's long-running effort to regain sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, which was originally “detached” from Mauritius in 1965 by the United Kingdom (UK). Although the Judgment will allow the case to proceed to the merits, it is significant in its own right for its engagement with several earlier legal decisions, including the arbitral award in Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration and the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, as well as UN General Assembly Resolution 73/295 affirming the Advisory Opinion. The Special Chamber stitched together a series of legal documents that, considered individually, were either non-binding or limited in scope to achieve a determination greater than the sum of its parts—one that effectively resolved the disputed sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.