By: Natalia Ermolina
Proceedings commented on: Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean, ITLOS Case No. 23.
Background of the dispute and the current post
The dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire over the delimitation of their maritime boundary was submitted by way of a special agreement to a special chamber of the ITLOS. On 27 February 2015, Côte d’Ivoire submitted a request for the prescription of provisional measures under article 290 (1) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC). The Chamber delivered its Order on 25 April 2015 (Order). The Chamber unanimously prescribed the following provisional measures (para. 108 (1)):
(a) Ghana shall take all necessary steps to ensure that no new drilling either by Ghana or under its control takes place in the disputed area as defined in paragraph 60;
(b) Ghana shall take all necessary steps to prevent information resulting from past, ongoing or future exploration activities conducted by Ghana, or with its authorization, in the disputed area that is not already in the public domain from being used in any way whatsoever to the detriment of Côte d’Ivoire;
(c) Ghana shall carry out strict and continuous monitoring of all activities undertaken by Ghana or with its authorization in the disputed area with a view to ensuring the prevention of serious harm to the marine environment;
(d) The Parties shall take all necessary steps to prevent serious harm to the marine environment, including the continental shelf and its superjacent waters, in the disputed area and shall cooperate to that end;
(e) The Parties shall pursue cooperation and refrain from any unilateral action that might lead to aggravating the dispute.
Professor Nigel Bankes, in his post of 12 May 2015, summarized the conditions to be met in order to trigger the power of courts and tribunals to prescribe provisional measures and commented on the scope of the provisional measures prescribed by the Order of 25 April 2015. This post addresses the subsequent developments in the dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.