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International Hague Court “only alternative” for dispute

Wednesday, June 23rd 2004 - 21:00 UTC
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The International Court of the Hague is the “only alternative” capable of introducing new dynamics to the Falklands/Malvinas dispute, because “there are no more options for Argentina regarding Malvinas”, states Marcel Kohen an International Law Professor from the Geneva High Studies Institute.

In an article published this Wednesday in Buenos Aires daily Clarin, Argentine professor Kohen argues that since self determination is the only instrument accepted by the Islanders and fully supported by Britain, currently there's no chance for Argentina's territorial and historic sovereignty claims even including the promise of considering the Islanders' "interests".

Therefore Argentina must refer the case to the International Court of the Hague where a recent ruling involving self determination and territorial claims in a border area between Nigeria and Cameroon was favourable to the country with territorial claims.

Mr. Kohen points out two main aspects of the ruling: when the existence of legal titles in favour of a country, the effective possession of the territory in dispute is not enough to consider it sovereign. Secondly, the views of the inhabitants of the disputed territory are not conclusive for the case.

The case refers to 200,000 people, overwhelmingly Nigerians, living along the Nigeria-Cameroon border in the disputed peninsula of Bakassi and Lake Chad region.

The Court dismissed the fact that inhabitants were Nigerians, controlled by Nigeria and accepted Cameroon's territorial claim and declaration that it would protect the interests of Nigerians living in Bakassi peninsula and Lake Chad Region

. The inhabitants of Bakassi peninsula even appealed, "unsuccessfully", to the United Nations for the organization of a referendum on self determination for the people involved.

Mr. Kohen underlines that the International Court ruling is favourable to Argentina's position dismissing self determination for Islanders in the UN General Assembly, the Decolonization Committee, C-24 and the Organization of American States, OAS, annual declaration.

"With no capacity to put pressure on the main ally of the only superpower, the only thing left for Argentina is the justness of its legal standing", says Professor Kohen adding that this jurisdictional initiative could complement other mechanisms, "it's the only one that could open the way for direct and serious sovereignty negotiations, in search for acceptable alternatives for both sides".

In the event of a jurisdictional solution, "it will force Islanders to abandon their attitude which consists in ignoring Argentine claims".

"In Malvinas there are no options left", highlights Mr. Kohen All possible non jurisdictional means to peacefully solve the dispute have been attempted with out success, "and even unfortunately the use of force".

Time is running against Argentina because the British have possession of the territory, "leaving the issue to future generations, besides irresponsible is equivalent to admitting failure and the lack of new ideas or courage".

On the contrary appealing to the International Court of The Hague is the only concrete, positive and different alternative to what has been done so far, if there's a real willingness to solve the conflict and abandon rhetoric.

Anyhow Professor Kohen praises Argentina's diplomatic attempts to recover sovereignty over the Falklands, "but they are insufficient", and "non conductive".

He even supports President Kirchner's "offensive policy towards Malvinas", different to its predecessors, such as the specific "sovereignty" claim actions of icebreaker "Almirante Irizar" in maritime space of the Islands and refusing concessions in practical issues such as charter flights.

Britain has made the Islanders the key piece of their Falklands policy, "this was so before the military adventure and still is after 1982".

The United Kingdom will never hold negotiations on the Islands and "if at some moment they could begin the starting point would be Argentina's drop of her sovereignty claim".

Mr. Kohen further on recalls the non success of former president Carlos Menem "shared sovereignty" proposal and the recent Spanish government experience involving Gibraltar.

That is why iterates that the International Court of The Hague looks "as the only alternative capable of introducing a new dynamic to the conflict".

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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