Watch: ITLOS Webcast of Argentina v. Ghana (ARA Libertad); Does UNCLOS Reach Ghana’s Internal Waters?

by Julian Ku

Today is Argentina Day here at Opinio Juris! (OK, it is Bash-Argentina Day).  In any event, it is worth highlighting that while Argentina has escaped for now a NY federal court ruling that would have forced it to pay holdout creditors next month, it is also battling Ghana at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.  The request for provisional measure by Argentina and transcript of the oral arguments is here. I want to especially highlight the very impressive webcast function on the Court’s website, which provides a great chance for those of us who don’t live in Hamburg to see oral argument at ITLOS. I know I am already on the record being very skeptical of Argentina’s argument in ITLOS, but the oral presentation by Ghana’s attorney Phillippe Sands has got to make Argentina worry.  His whole argument in a nutshell: UNCLOS does not regulate a sovereign’s actions in its internal waters (e.g. port). UNCLOS does regulate some actions in a country’s territorial seas. This seems pretty solid, but I am far from a UNCLOS expert. I welcome readers’ comments.  Decision forthcoming on December 15th!

http://opiniojuris.org/2012/11/30/watch-itlos-webcast-of-argentina-v-ghana-ara-libertad-does-unclos-reach-ghanas-internal-waters/

2 Responses

  1. art 293(1) UNCLOS: “A court or tribunal having jurisdiction under this section shall applythis Convention and other rules of international law not incompatible withthis Convention.”

  2. Mariano – The Annex VII tribunal may be entitled to apply other rules of international law,  but jurisdiction must be based on an UNCLOS dispute and not on other rules of international law surely?
    I was surprised by the “internal waters” angle in Ghana’s argument, i.e. that it isn’t an UNCLOS dispute because UNCLOS doesn’t cover immunity in internal waters. I think a reasonable argument can be made that even if the ship is in territorial waters, Article 32 is not a source of sovereign immunity, and such immunity is not an UNCLOS issue. 
    http://www.cjicl.org.uk/index.php/cjicl-blog/public-hearings-in-argentina-v-ghana-an-unclos-dispute
    Looking forward to hearing what ITLOS has to say on December 15th.
     

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