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Professor Minas Authors Article on International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion

The International Court of Justice’s landmark February 2019 advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius has been analysed by STL Assistant Professor Stephen Minas, in an article for the journal Transnational Legal Theory.

The advisory opinion from the ICJ is the latest in a long-running series of legal processes, which resulted from the United Kingdom’s separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius, prior to granting Mauritius independence as a sovereign nation. In its opinion, the ICJ concluded that as a result of the UK’s detachment of the Chagos Archipelago, the decolonisation of Mauritius remains incomplete.

In the article, titled “Why the ICJ’s Chagos Archipelago advisory opinion matters for global justice—and for ‘Global Britain’”, Dr. Minas placed the advisory opinion in the context of decades of prior litigation, including in the English courts and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, brought against the UK by both the Republic of Mauritius and by the displaced Chagossians, who want to return to their homeland. Dr. Minas discussed the potential significance of the opinion, both on the topic of decolonisation and more broadly.

In the STL course Advanced Transnational Law, taught during Quarter 3, Dr. Minas taught the series of Chagos-related litigation as an example of transnational legal process, involving multiple national and international courts and tribunals, and multiple areas of substantive law. Commenting on the synergies between teaching and research, Dr. Minas said: “The Chagos advisory opinion offered students an example of transnational legal process in action which implicated critical questions of legal interpretation and justice. At the same time, the discussions in class were of great benefit in prompting the development of the article. This is just one example of how research and teaching are deeply complementary activities.”