Falklands War Redux? Or Perhaps Its Time to Head to ITLOS

Falklands War Redux? Or Perhaps Its Time to Head to ITLOS

Emerging disputes over oil drilling and natural gas exploration in the Falklands should provide an ideal test case for international dispute resolution. Argentina appears to be ready to contest UK drilling for hydrocarbons in the Falklands’ exclusive economic zone.

Britain rejected Argentine objections to oil exploration off the disputed Falkland Islands on Tuesday, saying the drilling was within international law.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said Latin American leaders backed her objections to exploration off the Falklands, known in Spanish as Las Malvinas, as drilling began on the first well on Monday

I would not be surprised to see a submission to ITLOS or the ICJ here, as both countries are party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and this appears to be a continental shelf issue. It sure beats a war.  I haven’t heard any threats of litigation yet, which suggests that Argentina has a pretty weak case.

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Kenneth Manusama
Kenneth Manusama

Argentina would not do that, because the objection is not really about the CS, but about who has title to the Falklands/Malvinas in the first place. I could imagine the UK not minding to go to the ICJ as their case appears strong. For Argentina to submit the case to the ICJ or ITLOS is to run the risk of the ICJ or ITLOS pronouncing on the issue of sovereignty over the islands.


[…] Islands, and the possibility that the oil deposits may be quite significant. Over at Opinio Juris, Julian Ku suggests that the UK and Argentina might well take this dispute to court, either the ICJ or the […]