VICTORIA, Seychelles, March 5, 2018–In June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution, initiated by Mauritius, to refer the issue of sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, for an Advisory Opinion. The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 94 to 15, with 65 abstentions. Seychelles was one of the countries which supported this Resolution in respect of valuing the guidance that may emanate from this prestigious institution on this complex issue.
Following this Resolution, all UN Member States were invited to submit written statements to the ICJ in a view to assisting the Court with its deliberations. On 28th February 2018, following Cabinet approval, the Government of Seychelles through the Department of Foreign Affairs submitted its written contributions to the ICJ.
As noted by Ambassador Barry Faure, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, “Seychelles’ submission requests that the voices and unique perspectives of the Chagossian community in Seychelles be taken into account by the ICJ during its proceedings. As a people who have genuine connections and interests towards the Chagos Archipelago, and who have faced a myriad of indignities and difficulties in a dispute that has spanned over decades, their plight must be taken into account within any international deliberation on this matter.”
The ICJ will be delivering its opinion in mid-2018. Although without binding effect, Advisory Opinions of the Court carries great legal weight and moral authority. They are often an instrument of preventive diplomacy and have peace-keeping virtues. Advisory opinions also, in their own way, contribute to the clarification and development of international law and thereby to the strengthening of peaceful relations between States.