Thursday, November 29th 2012 - 20:47 UTC

Law of the Sea tribunal will decide Argentina/Ghana case on December 15

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea announced that the decision on the case involving the Argentine Navy frigate ARA Libertad retained in Ghana will be made public next 15 December. On Thursday both sides made their case in a several hours hearing at the seat of the tribunal in Hamburg.

Ms Ruiz Cerutti accuse Ghana of violating international law but Ebenezer Appreku insisted the case was a civil dispute

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

“The court will announce its decision on December 15”, tribunal Judge Ruediger Wolfrum said during a break in the proceedings. He added “there are no easy cases, nor is this one and both sides have arrived supported by top leaguer lawyers”.

But Judge Wolfrum cautioned that the court would only make a decision about whether the ship should be released and may not make a wider judgment about whether warships can be arrested in civil debt cases.

“We will consider plausible causes and urgency to preserve the procedural position of Argentina” he added when asked what factors would be considered in the court’s decision.

Argentina asked the tribunal to order the immediate release of the training vessel being held in Ghana at the request of holders of Argentine bonds which they say are due for repayment.

The Ghanaian authorities detained the sailing frigate ARA Libertad in the port of Tema on Oct. 2 at the request of hedge fund NML Capital which says Argentina owes it 300 million dollars on bonds which have been in default since 2002.

But Susana Ruiz Cerutti, head of an Argentine delegation argued that warships have immunity from such claims under international maritime law and it was a ”mystery“ why Ghana had not allowed the ship to leave.

Ms Ruiz Cerutti said the tribunal should order the ship's release as the United Nations convention on maritime law gives warships immunity from civil actions.

”Because a 'vulture fund' has chosen the frigate to be the subject of proceedings does not absolve Ghana of its international obligations,“ Cerutti said. Argentina refers to funds like NML as ”vulture funds“ because they buy distressed or defaulted bonds and then sue in international courts to get paid in full.

She added that the Law of the Sea convention does not define warships as carrying weapons and the ARA Libertad is an unarmed naval training vessel.

The ship was visiting Ghana under Argentina's program to boost cooperation and friendship in the southern hemisphere and was seized in a ”brutal manner“, Cerutti said.

In reply Ghana's court representative Ebenezer Appreku asked for Argentina's application to be rejected and pointed out that the ship's detention arose from a court order in Ghana concerning a commercial contractual dispute between the private company NML Capital and the state of Argentina which did not involve Ghana's government.

He said that since Ghana's constitution clearly separates the powers of the judiciary from the Executive and the Ghana government ”cannot set aside the rule of law“ and direct the ship to be released against the order of a court.

”The government of Ghana does not consider itself to be in a state of dispute with the Argentine Republic“ Appreku said.

The issue ”has placed Ghana in a difficult and delicate position because we have been unwittingly drawn into a dispute between a foreign corporation and a sovereign state with which we enjoy good and cordial relations,” Appreku said.

The crew of the vessel had not been subjected to harassment or psychological harm, said Ghana's government lawyer Anjolie Singh, and power and water were being supplied to the ship.

Argentina accused Ghana port authorities of having cut basic services to the vessel forcing the evacuation of most of the crew and cadets but for a skeleton group that are in fear of being boarded given ‘previous attempts’.

However the Ghana team also argued that the warships immunity apply to international waters and not territorial waters or when a vessel is berthed such is the case of ARA Libertad.
 

36 comments Feed

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1 Swiss Bob (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 08:54 pm Report abuse
And the advocate for Ghana comprehensively demolished the Argentine argument point by point.

The tribunal will throw the case out on the basis that none of the articles that Argentina have used in pursuit of their case apply. It was most enjoyable to watch.
2 Chicureo (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 08:58 pm Report abuse
But wait, could Argentina be wrong? Judge Wolfrum seems to be saying that they could decide either way... Also, they might even sidestep the “warship” argument...

In the meantime, I recommend you see the interesting link to the FI.
on.fb.me/UdfGeX
3 andy65 (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 09:04 pm Report abuse
Same old story no matter what

ARGENTINA ALWAYS THE VICTIMS

GOD BLESS GHANA
4 briton (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 09:14 pm Report abuse
[
If they gave her the ship back
She would be able to give her people that awaited victory, raising her popularity status even more,

Then when she travels aboard she will most certainly travel by warship
As she will know it can’t be impounded .lol.
.
5 Pirate Love (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 09:25 pm Report abuse
is it true the IMO has no juristiction in this case to warrant an effective decision in either countries favor? if thats the case what the hell was this exercise for?
6 Orbit (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 09:40 pm Report abuse
If its a warship then it is inconceivable that Argentina would not use it in a war. Now lets see, do we have any examples of a war Argentina participated in which we could use to test this premise? Ah, yes, there was a conflict in 1982 which could help us here, and it is my understanding that it didn't leave port. Or maybe it did, and its tall ship stealth technology concealed it whilst its crew members fired wave after wave of hot air in a generally easterly direction.

So if not in 1982, what other wars might it have participated in? The war against Argentinian dignity and pride? Now we might be getting somewhere.

What about the war against seagulls having no masts to sit on? A strong possibility.

Perhaps it is a warship but a counter model one? I.e absolutely no use in a war whatsoever?
7 Pirate Love (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 09:51 pm Report abuse
the fact that ghana is innocent in this mess, and being the target of argentinas massive pressure and not NML itself, tells you one thing argentine know the only chance to get this vessel back is for ghana to release it through whatever it takes.
No doubt Ghana will hold their nerve, They also no Argentina has NO TEETH!!!
8 razdaman (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 10:27 pm Report abuse
7) are you on about the country or el presidente
9 jkw (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 10:32 pm Report abuse
If Argentina prevails at the ITLOS it will be because the United States, (the Nation whose Courts have issued the judicial rulings under which Ghana holds the ship) is not a member of ITLOS---and it is not for sovereignty reasons. And, for those who seeking fun or profit follow such matters, there is a bitter debate in the US over ever submitting its sovereignty to jurisdiction of ITLOS which has numerous member nations which dislike it tremendously--e,g., Russia, China.

So, continuing the nerve of the thought, what will the vulture capitalists who would lose the leverage of a US Federal Court Order do when ITLOS orders Ghana to release Argentina's training vessel? They will lobby the US Congress telling it that they could not collect on their vulture money from those horrible horrible Argentine socialist debt dodgers because the US is not a signatory to ITLOS.

Will they be successful? Maybe. A qualified maybe. And only so because of the extraordinary leverage the banks now seem to have over Washington's decision making. Yet, among staunch, old fashioned conservative Republicans, (not the new anti-middle class Republicans) there is strong resistance to subjecting US sovereignty to ITLOS. Further it is unlikely that Pres Obama would try to intervene to aid vulture capitalists---the very people who have been systematically gutting US manufacturing and offshoring it to quasi-slave labor friendly nations, e.g, China

So, if Argentina wins this round.....
10 ElaineB (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 10:41 pm Report abuse
This is a simple matter of law between Argentina and NML. It is not Argentina vs. Ghana or Argentina vs. The Rest of the World.
11 jkw (#) Nov 29th, 2012 - 11:47 pm Report abuse
#10 Elaine....I understand your argument. Soooo, if a Chinese Court issues an order saying the US owes a Chinese solar panel manufacturing company $750 million in lost profits, that Company, Little Solyra let's call it, can take it's claim to Ghana , domesticate it there, and seize a US naval training vessel ported in Ghana,./....... ITLOS will entertain a ruling on a sovereign naval vessel? I hope you are wrong...
12 agent999 (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 12:12 am Report abuse
TTT
seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019789016_apltargentinaenergy.html
13 ChrisR (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 12:26 am Report abuse
As I said at the beginning, the dock is internal waters and not within the scope of ITLOS.

Game over.

I am surprised that Cerutti did not DEMAND the immediate release of the ship because TMBOA will throw a hissy fit of enormous proportions it you don’t.

LOLs
14 jkw (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 03:21 am Report abuse
#12 agent 999....good post...thanks! And all the while during Pres. Obamas South American summit meeting, the US pleasured itself with tales of Secret Service popping prosties in Cartegena....instead of listening carefully for the sound of the other shoe hitting the floor in South America...

The US hasn't totally lost out on having its most natural of partners (South/Central America) being its friend, but it's getting close.....The US ought not hold itself out as the go to nation for the neocolonial ambitions of the debt makers and exploiters of economies struggling to extricate themselves from the corruption which enveloped most South American nations until recently.........the spectacle of a US Federal Courtr Order being domesticated in Ghana to seize Argentina's naval training vessel is a disgusting reminder of the power of the IMF and World Bank (Ghana cannot eat or wipe itself without IMF/World Bank monies) operating through their vulture capitalist partners..
15 agent999 (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 05:55 am Report abuse
@14
What about Argentina's current loans with the World Bank of $9.137 billion.
16 Frank (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 06:22 am Report abuse
'The ship was visiting Ghana under Argentina's program to boost cooperation and friendship in the ****southern**** hemisphere'

Geography isn't an RG strongpoint is it.....
17 agent999 (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 06:38 am Report abuse
Argentina accused Ghana port authorities of having cut basic services to the vessel forcing the evacuation of most of the crew and cadets but for a skeleton group that are in fear of being boarded given ‘previous attempts’.

The crew of the vessel had not been subjected to harassment or psychological harm, said Ghana's government lawyer Anjolie Singh, and power and water were being supplied to the ship.
18 Iron Man (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 07:21 am Report abuse
@1 I listened to the Ghana representative too and thought he did an excellent job of explaining how Ghana was caught in the middle of all this. Frankly I struggle to understand why Argentina makes such bullying noises to Ghana over this. Unless of course it's because otherwise, it is the Argentine government's fault that it is in this mess, and that can't possibly be the case, can it?
19 Terence Hill (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 08:20 am Report abuse
Interesting that Argentina refers to The Convention of Immunity of States 2004. An article that is not yet in force. Its still missing two to signatories, Argentina has not yet signed. Dishonest to say the least, sound familiar?
20 agent999 (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 10:36 am Report abuse
no live coverage today ?
21 Brit Bob (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 03:15 pm Report abuse
What country:
World's number one protectionist county
Regarded as a pariah state by international money lenders
Only G20 country not to allow IMF to inspect its books
Ranks 158 out of 179 countries in terms of economic freedom
Lies in 100th place in the World's Index of Corrupt Nations

A R G E N T I N A
22 Conqueror (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 03:19 pm Report abuse
@5 It's not the IMO, it's ITLOS. The IMO website can be found at www.imo.org/About/Pages/Default.aspx So take a look at its responsibilities.
@13 I'm not sure how you work out that the Port of Tema is “internal waters”. I can't tell from a map where the “original” coastline was, but it seems to me unlikely that Ghana wouldn't have made use of any bay. Therefore, the port was probably built “out” from the shoreline. The next question is where the baseline is. If it goes round the port, I'd agree with you. But if it sticks with the original coastline...........
23 Anbar (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 03:25 pm Report abuse
“”“”“”1) And the advocate for Ghana comprehensively demolished the Argentine argument point by point.

2) The tribunal will throw the case out on the basis that none of the articles that Argentina have used in pursuit of their case apply. It was most enjoyable to watch.“”“”“”“””

1) Yes the Ghana advocate was lethal
2) absolutely disagree... you may not ahve been party to enough legal proceedings to know that “all bets are off” once you enter any court.

“”“”Interesting that Argentina refers to The Convention of Immunity of States 2004.“”“”“

A convention is just that.

”“”“”“Argentina accused Ghana port authorities of having cut basic services to the vessel forcing the evacuation of most of the crew and cadets but for a skeleton group that are in fear of being boarded given ‘previous attempts’.”“”“”“

This sort of drama-queen approach is rather typical of Argentine politics in general: why are you surprised?

”“”“”“”“Frankly I struggle to understand why Argentina makes such bullying noises to Ghana over this.”“”“”“”

Because this Argentine Government is a bunch of drama-queens who bark before they think. Some quieter back-room diplomacy would have ended this weeks ago.... however, it has created weeks of diversion from the horrors the government is inflicting on the nation economically, so.....

I'll repeat my previous comments though: do not be surprised when Argentina achieve a 'technical' victory here. the splitting of the decision into a short-term and long-term case is indicative that the court already considers there to be different aspects to this matter: some applicable to all and some created solely by this case for very specific (and complicated) reasons.
24 Spainexpat (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 03:39 pm Report abuse
@23 Anbar

I'd have to disagree with your view that Argentina will secure a 'technical' victory.

Having watched the final round of oral arguments I just don't see any arguments from Argentina that satisfy the points required to achieve the provisional measures they requested.

It will be interesting to see what happens.
25 agent999 (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 04:26 pm Report abuse
If you are interested the archives for today's hearing are available.

wm.rosebud-media.net/itlos/archive/20121130_itlos_en_004.asf

The Ghanaian lawyer takes the Argentinian case to pieces with facts and not emotional rhetoric that was used by the Argentinian representatives,.
26 ChrisR (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 05:56 pm Report abuse
As I have said on two previous posts: internal waters are excluded from the Convention.

Game over RG lose again. Wait and see on Dec 15th if I am in any way wrong.
27 slattzzz (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 08:08 pm Report abuse
well after yesterdays celebrations the trolls have today been put right back in thier box, “Libertad on her way home NOT”, “Cruise liners not visiting the Falklands NOT, one there as we speak”, Trolley dolly spouting off about the IMO, BIG FAIL, fuel prices to rise by 44%, YPF buy out BG big mistake, and TMBOA calls rgenweener the counter model of the IMF, Wow thats going to hurt, and then Brazil tells them to intergrate or shut the fuck up...............great day hope you trolls enjoyed it
28 British_Kirchnerist (#) Nov 30th, 2012 - 09:41 pm Report abuse
Great points jkw
29 Troy Tempest (#) Dec 01st, 2012 - 08:16 am Report abuse
@28BK

“token post” noted, BK.

On to another thread now, pls. Other Trolls are waiting.
30 ChrisR (#) Dec 01st, 2012 - 10:16 am Report abuse
22 Conqueror
Text of the Convention.
Article 8
Internal waters
1. Except as provided in Part IV, waters on the landward side of the
baseline of the territorial sea form part of the internal waters of the State.
2. Where the establishment of a straight baseline in accordance with the
method set forth in article 7 has the effect of enclosing as internal waters
areas which had not previously been considered as such, a right of innocent
passage as provided in this Convention shall exist in those waters.

“HAS THE EFFECT OF ENCLOSING AS INTERNAL WATERS
AREAS WHICH HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN CONSIDERED AS SUCH”

Also, the Convention is ALL about International waters with the territorial waters giving innocent passage.

Please watch the webcam of Friday PM when the QC for Ghana demolished the RG claims. At the very beginning of the formation of the Convention it was decided that internal waters are specifically excluded. It is a pity that this is not given priority in the text within part 1.

Docks and installations are clearly internal waters.
31 toooldtodieyoung (#) Dec 01st, 2012 - 10:22 am Report abuse
16th December...

Que :- More trantrums and outbursts from KFC / Ol' Turkey Neck / TMBOA / The Harpy........
32 Shed-time (#) Dec 02nd, 2012 - 12:10 pm Report abuse
Did anyone else watch the farce that was the Argentinian oral arguments to the tribunal? The best part of the whole thing was the second day presentation by the Ghanian counsel who just stood there suggesting the Argies didn't really understand what they were doing and were a bunch of amateurs. One of the folks presenting for the Argies was that professor who someone on this forum claimed to be in the not so near past. Seeing him struggling, was fun to watch.

Academics in courts are hilarious. The whole thing was hilarious (9/10 on the hilari-o-meter)
33 andy65 (#) Dec 02nd, 2012 - 03:30 pm Report abuse
I guess The Argentines thought Ghana would just have some idiot representing them
34 Shed-time (#) Dec 02nd, 2012 - 07:56 pm Report abuse
@33 The argies did that weird 'pleading to fallacies' strategy that they seem to think works for their domestic audience but fails miserably with anyone bearing an IQ of over 40.

That unconvincing argie academic chap did this bizarre hand on each side of the rostrum, making himself look like he was square. That bit was quite fun.

The indian and british advocates then just pretty much stood there going 'what the hell was that all about?'

With that show of nonsense, i cannot dream of how the argies could ever win. However, given the arguments about them not being in a rush, i don't think they expect to.
35 British_Kirchnerist (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 02:30 pm Report abuse
#32 Do you mean the professor which some people thought was me, because he was on the same wavelength as me with regars to Cristina's beauty?
36 ChrisR (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 05:07 pm Report abuse
@35 BSK

I have no idea if he was or if he was not.

However it was pitiful to watch him fall down each hole his 'team' had dug for him.

It was even more pitiful to watch how the excellent team for Ghana politely ripped his 'argument' to shreds.

AG fell at the first line: the waters are internal and outside the scope of the court.

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