UN’s top court to hear case on fate of Chagos isles
The world court said it will hold hearings in September in a case brought by the United Nations asking judges to examine the fate of the British-ruled Chagos Islands, home to a military base.
The Indian Ocean archipelago has been at the centre of a decades-long dispute over Britain’s decision to separate it from Mauritius in 1965 and set up a major joint military base with the US on Diego Garcia, the largest of the islands.
In a diplomatic blow to Britain, the UN General Assembly last June adopted a resolution presented by Mauritius and backed by African countries asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to offer an opinion on the island chain’s fate.
The ICJ will “hold public hearings on the request for advisory opinion” in the case of the “legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 from Monday 3 to Thursday 6 September 2018,” the tribunal said in a statement.
The African Union and a remarkable number of 22 other countries — including Britain, Germany and several Asian and Latin American nations — “have expressed their intention of participating in the oral proceedings”, the court added.