Academic journal article The George Washington International Law Review

The Landmark 2006 Unclos Annex VII Barbados/trinidad and Tobago Maritime Delimitation (Jurisdiction & Merits) Award

Academic journal article The George Washington International Law Review

The Landmark 2006 Unclos Annex VII Barbados/trinidad and Tobago Maritime Delimitation (Jurisdiction & Merits) Award

Article excerpt


I am delighted to be a part of this special celebration for Professor Louis B. Sohn and to see so many distinguished friends, including eminent International Court of Justice (ICJ) Judges Thomas Buergendial, Sir Kenneth Keith, and Stephen M. Schwebel, Judge Thomas M. Franck, International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) President Rudiger Wolfrum, Ambassador David A. Balton, and such best friends as Ashley Roach, David Freestone, Lee Kimball and Tucker Scully, Daniel Dzurek, John Noyes, and of course now "Orange" Judge ad hoc of Ukraine in Romania v. Ukraine Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea case, Professor Bernard H. Oxman, whose name-along with that of Shabtai Rosenne-has always been the closest to Louis Sohn.

My words of warmest gratitude go to Associate Dean Susan L. Karamanian, whose unlimited endiusiasm and a lot of hard work brought us here together today.

Having reviewed all heartwarming tributes placed in memory of Louis B. Sohn at the American Society of International Law (ASIL) website and made by Judge Buergendial, UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Kofi A. Annan, and many states during the latest Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in New York, it occurred to me that Louis Sohn's outstanding achievements are marked by three keywords: excellence, which he represented in every respect; UNCLOS, of which he was a principal architect; and dispute settlement within the framework of the United Nations Charter, the drawing up of which he was indeed privileged to attend in San Francisco.1

I therefore decided to focus my presentation on the landmark UNCLOS Annex VII Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Maritime Delimitation (Jurisdiction and Merits) Award, which was rendered on the eve of the ICJ's 60th Anniversary and represents the same three keywords that are characteristic of Louis Sohn's achievements. The Award2 also substantiates the view of the ICJ Presidents and ASIL President Jose E. Alvarez, with whom Professor Sohn would certainly agree, that international law will become ever more important in the future.3 This is especially true because, as David Freestone recently remarked, "nowhere is the impact of general international law felt more strongly than in the context of maritime boundary delimitation," which forms the very subject matter of this Award.4

The Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award marked a continuation of the recent 1998/1999 Eritrea/Yemen Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Delimitation (Phases I-II) Awards, the 2001 Qatar v. Bahrain Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions (Merits) Judgment, 2001/2002 Newfoundland and Labrador/Nova Scotia (Phases I-II) Awards and the 2002 Cameroon v. Nigeria; Equatorial Guinea Intervening Land and Maritime Boundary (Merits) Judgment, which enjoy the highest prominence of vast jurisprudence concerning equitable maritime boundary delimitation. This jurisprudence is often intertwined with territorial acquisition and land boundary delimitation, as is proven by the pending ICJ Nicaragua v. Honduras Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea (Merits), Nicaragua v. Colombia Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Preliminary Objections), Malaysia/Singapore Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh and Romania v. Ukraine Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea cases, as well as the pending UN Equatorial Guinea/Gabon Corisco Bay Islands and Guyana/Venezuela Good Offices, and the OAS Belize/Guatemala Territorial and Maritime Delimitation Mediation.5

From amongst five UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunals, the Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Maritime Delimitation Arbitral Tribunal was the first to render its Award on the merits.6 These Tribunals, which were welcomed in an illuminating Message delivered by the ICJ on the occasion of the UNCLOS 20th Anniversary on December 10, 2002, include the inaugural Australia/New Zealand v. Japan Southern Bluefin Tuna Tribunal under presidency of then ICJ President Stephen M. …

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