Calming the Waters in the West African Region: The Case of Ghana and Côte D'Ivoire
African Journal of International and Comparative Law, Volume 26 Issue 4, Page 507-526, ISSN 0954-8890 Available Online Nov 2018
20 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2017 Last revised: 19 Apr 2021
Date Written: October 13, 2017
On 23 September 2017, a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) unanimously fixed the course of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire and, thus, ended a longstanding dispute between the two West African neighbours. In addition to maritime delimitation, the legal reasoning and conclusions drawn in the judgment – especially in view of the Special Chamber’s Provisional Measures Order of 25 April 2017 – are significant, in that they shed light on States’ rights and obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in respect of undelimited maritime areas, and also on the potential to respond meaningfully to unilateral resource-related activities in disputed waters through recourse to provisional measures of protection. The present paper examines the key aspects of the Special Chamber’s ruling and highlights some issues of practical significance for the future conduct of unilateral petroleum activities in disputed maritime areas.
Keywords: Maritime Delimitation, Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire, Unilateral Activities, Oil and Gas, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
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