As a veteran colonial country, the United Kingdom has always regarded itself as a “guardian of international law” and made irresponsible remarks on the affairs of other countries.
However, the United Kingdom itself is notoriously inferior in complying with international law and fulfilling its international obligations. In particular, it has still failed to comply with the requirements of the United Nations General Assembly resolution on May 22, 2019. Before November 22, 2010) unconditionally withdraw from the Chagos Islands” and return the jurisdiction of the islands to Mauritius.
The British move is a naked trampling of the international rule of law.
First of all, what the United Kingdom ignores is not general international rulings, but the authoritative legal opinions issued by the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial organ of the United Nations.
On June 22, 2017, the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proposed by the African Union, requesting the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the British Separation of the Chagos Islands from Mauritius”.
On February 25, 2019, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion, clearly stating that the occupation of the Chagos Islands by the United Kingdom is illegal and the British side is obliged to terminate its administrative jurisdiction over the Chagos Islands as soon as possible. In this regard, the United Kingdom argues that the court’s advisory opinion is not legally binding.
However, in the international system with the United Nations at its core, the International Court of Justice and its advisory opinions are recognized as representing the highest legal authority. As the American scholar of international law Goodrich (LM Goodrich) recognized as early as the 1930s, the court’s advisory opinion is a declaratory judgment in nature.
M. Zoricic, a former judge of the International Court of Justice, pointed out more clearly that although the advisory opinion has no enforcement clause, its value in resolving disputes between countries is equivalent to a judgment. As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council, the United Kingdom blatantly ignores the advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice and damages not only the judicial authority of the court, but also its own international reputation.
Secondly, what Britain violated is not general international rules, but a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly with a high vote.
According to the “United Nations Charter”, the United Nations General Assembly is the main deliberation, supervision and review organ of the United Nations, and it is at the center of the United Nations system. The General Assembly is composed of all the member states of the United Nations and is the most universally representative international organization in the international community.
Therefore, although the General Assembly resolutions are usually more of a political suggestion, they play an important role in the process of codification of international law. This is especially true for a resolution passed by a high number of votes, because it reflects the general consensus of the international community.
On May 22, 2019, according to the authoritative opinion of the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly, with 116 votes in favor and only 6 votes against, specifically approved that the British authorities’ rule of the Chagos Islands was an “illegal act” and demanded that the United Kingdom The resolution to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius within six months. The United Kingdom has not yet returned the Chagos Islands to Mauritius as required by the resolution.
Again, what Britain is fighting against is not general international obligations, but the decolonization process, the cause of human liberation and the historical trend.
Since the founding of the United Nations, 750 million people in more than 80 former colonies have gained independence under its leadership. At present, there are still 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories in the world that have not completed the decolonization process, and the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean is one of them.
The Chagos Islands is an inherent territory of Mauritius and was occupied by the British in 1810. In 1965, as an additional condition for gaining independence, Mauritius was forced to separate the Chagos Islands from its territory and become the “British Indian Ocean Territory”, and the United Kingdom “committed” to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius in due course.
However, the United Kingdom not only failed to return it, but also used various inhumane means to expel thousands of Chagos natives on the islands in order to support and assist the United States in building military bases on the islands for use in launching foreign wars.
Regarding this, Mauritian Prime Minister Jagnarth stated angrily that “the UK cannot claim to be a guardian of international law while continuing to maintain an illegal colonial government”.
Facts have long proven that the “Guardian of International Law” is nothing more than “the emperor’s new outfit” for Britain.
As early as 2006, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court initiated a preliminary review of possible war crimes by British troops during the Iraq War and Occupation, making Britain the first Western country to be investigated by the International Criminal Court.
The review was restarted in 2014 and continues to this day. There has been more and more evidence pointing to the British army’s serious war crimes such as murder and torture. It is even more common for Britain to repent of the various international obligations it has promised.
The British government is currently trying to pass a domestic legislation that flagrantly violates the “Brexit” agreement reached with the EU, which has been severely criticized by the EU. It is even more ironic that the United Kingdom has recently tried to exaggerate the so-called “potential threat” of the Chinese Navy through the Arctic Channel in accordance with international law, while British naval vessels violated international law as early as 2018 to trespass into the territorial waters of China’s Paracel Islands.
Why is this not a typical double standard? The British side should self-examine, is it still qualified to talk about international rules in the international community?