Ghana has filed a detailed memorial urging the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to ward off Cote d’Ivoire from disputed oilfields.
The memorial (statement of case), which was filed on September 4, 2015, was filed on time, thereby making it possible for Ghana to meet the deadline.
Attached to the memorial are voluminous documents aimed at building a solid case for the country.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra Monday, said “we have met the deadline of September 4, 2015 and I am glad the team worked around the clock to meet the timeline”.
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Mrs Appiah-Opong, who is leading Ghana’s team, said “we submitted our memorial electronically to the registrar of the tribunal last Friday. The tribunal will also receive hard copies during the week”.
Cote d’Ivoire has up to April 4, 2016, to file its counter-memorial (detailed defence) as to why it should be declared the owner of disputed oilfields and adjoining seabed.
Ghana will on July 4, 2016, submit a reply to Cote d’Ivoire’s counter-memorial, while Cote d’Ivoire is expected to file a rejoinder on October 4, 2016.
Oral hearing of the maritime border dispute between the two countries will commence in February 2017.
Ghana went to the ITLOS in September 2014, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Cote d’Ivoire’s territorial waters. It filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.
Cote d’Ivoire in February 2015 filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Case 23” was filed by Ghana after 10 failed negotiations.
But the Special Chamber of the ITLOS on April 25, 2015 declined to suspend production activities in the disputed area with the explanation that “in the view of the Special Chamber, the suspension of ongoing activities conducted by Ghana in respect of which drilling has already taken place would entail the risk of considerable financial loss to Ghana, and its concessioners and could also pose a serious danger to the marine environment resulting, in particular, from the deterioration of equipment”.