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Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Assignment

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Added on: 2022-12-23 10:30:24
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Question 1 - Essay Question:

The concept of marine scientific research (MSR), referred to in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, has been the source of some controversy. Using the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, what is your assessment of the legal meaning of this concept? Discuss the significance of your analysis for the balance between a coastal States rights regarding MSR and the navigational rights of other States.


Question 2 - Problem Question:

Blueland and Orangeland are both large Island nations in the Pacific Ocean – they are separated by about 240 nautical miles, with Orangeland lying on the west and Blueland lying to the east. Orangeland is a developing country that relies upon its fishing industry for most of its revenue. Blueland is a developed country that has an advanced market economy. Both countries have a space program and have a number of registered satellites in orbit around the Earth.

Blueland and Orangeland are both parties to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. Both States have declared a Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Orangeland waters are rich with fish resources. Under its Fisheries legislation, Orangeland has issued licenses to fishing vessels from many States to fish in its EEZ. This is generating significant revenue for Orangeland, however the capacity for its small Government Fishing Agency to enforce its laws is often stretched. In January 2022, Orangeland passes a new law that authorises private companies that register and undertake training to enforce Orangeland fishing laws. Companies that have vessels with fast motors are especially invited to register with the Government program. The crews of these private vessels receive basic training in maritime law enforcement techniques as well as their uniform which consists of a bright orange shirt with Orangeland Fisheries Agency embroidered in big letters on the front and back of their shirts. The crew chief (the Captain of the vessel) is also given an official Orangeland Fisheries Agency flag that he/she is directed to place prominently on the mast of their vessels.

On June 18, 2022, at 9.00am, the newly Orangeland registered and authorized private vessel, named the Orangeland Express is undertaking a patrol in the Orangeland EEZ when it encounters a Blueland flagged vessel, named Whiskey Hotel. The Whiskey Hotel is seen with fishing equipment on its decks and the crew are seen actively fishing in the EEZ. A computer check in the Orangeland data base reveals that the Whiskey Hotel does not have a licence and hence is presumed to be fishing unlawfully. The Captain of the Orangeland Express, namely Tammy Thompson, checks to ensure that her crew are all wearing their bright orange shirts and that the Orangeland Fisheries Agency flag is flying for all to see. The Orangeland Express then approaches the Whiskey Hotel. Through both radio transmission and loudspeaker, Captain Thompson directs the Whiskey Hotel to immediately cease what they are doing and that they are to be boarded by an Orangeland Fisheries Vessel. Various crew members on the deck of the Whiskey Hotel yell back that they cant hear what is being said and are seen raising their fists in defiance.

At this point, the Whiskey Hotel flees the area at very high speed and the Orangeland Express gives chase. The chase lasts for many hours and sight is sometimes lost of the Whiskey Hotel, as is radar contact onboard the Orangeland Express. However, Captain Thompson is receiving reports from the Orangeland Space Agency that is tracking the progress of the Whiskey Hotel through an Orangeland reconnaissance satellite. The Orangeland Space Agency can relay to her real time information concerning the position of the Whiskey Hotel. At around 6.00pm, the Whiskey Hotel is heading towards the territorial sea limits of Purpleland, a small island nation that is located between Orangeland and Blueland and has a Treaty of co-operation with Orangeland. The Whiskey Hotel enters the territorial sea limit of Purpleland, but the Purpleland Minister of Foreign Affairs gives the Orangeland Government permission to enforce its laws within the Purpleland territorial sea. Notwithstanding this, the Whiskey Hotel evades capture and leaves the Purpleland territorial sea, heading towards Blueland.

At this point, the Orangeland Space Agency observes that a Blueland satellite has been maneuvered into proximity with the Orangeland satellite that is tracking the Whiskey Hotel. The position of the Blueland satellite is extremely close to the Orangeland satellite, which has caused a major safety concern within the Orangeland Space Agency. At the same time, the Orangeland satellite imaging capabilities and other sensors (infrared as well as magnetic) have been compromised by this blocking. The Orangeland Space Minister makes a public statement condemning the reckless act of Blueland in positioning its satellite in this manner, stressing that it was without notice, that it created a serious risk of damage and undermined space safety. The Orangeland Space Agency expends valuable fuel onboard its satellite to move its satellite due to safety considerations, however all tracking capability of the Whiskey Hotel is now lost. In attempting to regain tracking ability, the Orangeland satellite is moved back into its original orbit and the Blueland satellite again attempts to block vision but manoeuvres too close and collides with the Orangeland satellite causing considerable damage to both satellites.

Despite the lack of tracking ability from space, in the early hours of 19 June 2022, the Orangeland Express finally catches up to the Whiskey Hotel. Through a demonstration of outstanding seamanship Captain Tammy Thompson is able to finally capture the Whiskey Hotel on the High Seas. The Orangeland Express is currently towing the Whiskey Hotel back to Orangeland for prosecution of its crew and proceedings for the forfeiture of the ship in the domestic Courts of Orangeland.

Prime Minister Helen Marks of Blueland responds by declaring that the actions of Orangeland in capturing the Whiskey Hotel are contrary to International Law. Simultaneously, the Orangeland Prime Minister Ruby Clark says to the world in a public statement that the actions of Blueland in maneuvering their satellite in the manner they did were unprecedented, dangerous and contrary to international law and that Blueland was liable for all damage caused to the Orangeland satellite.

Orangeland and Blueland have agreed to submit their dispute to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for resolution.

Orangeland and Blueland are parties to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the 1972 Liability Convention, the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Orangeland has also signed the Artemis Accords.

Please advise Prime Minister Ruby Clark on the International Law issues raised in this problem and assess Orangelands chances of success at the ICJ.

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  • Posted on : December 23rd, 2022
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