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La defensa de las funciones de la Asamblea General; y un escrutinio y garantías reforzados del consentimiento verdaderamente libre en escenarios de autodeterminación en la opinión consultiva de la CIJ sobre la separación del Archipiélago de Chagos de Mauricio

febrero 26, 2019

Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

En la opinión consultiva que fue publicada el día de hoy, resalto un par de cuestiones sumamente interesantes. La primera de ellas consiste en la consideración de la Corte de que, distinguiendo controversias territoriales de cuestiones sobre autodeterminación, en principio debe respetar lo decidido por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas en cuanto a la formulación de solicitudes de opiniones consultivas a la Corte, sin reemplazarla mediante especulaciones sobre para qué o cómo usará el pronunciamiento eventual de la CIJ, confiando en que ella puede estimar como elemento decisivo o importante lo que opine la Corte cuando haya suficiente evidencia de la seriedad de la consulta. En consecuencia, la Corte no debe abstenerse de emitir un pronunciamiento en tales eventos, salvo casos excepcionales.

Por otra parte, la Corte fue valiente (más que en la opinión consultiva sobre Kosovo, a mi juicio) en cuestiones debatidas, en este caso referentes a la autodeterminación de los pueblos y los procesos de descolonización. A (buen) juicio de la Corte, en este tipo de contextos hay que escudriñar con lupa y de forma muy intensa el que las decisiones de índole territorial u otro tipo ligados a un contexto de administración foránea reflejen una verdadera decisión libre del pueblo afectado, lo que, (a mi parecer) correctamente dijo la Corte, no ocurrió en el asunto examinado. Además, en tanto hay obligaciones erga omnes involucradas, además del rol que cumpla el Consejo de Seguridad se dijo que los terceros Estados tienen el deber de cooperar para procurar el respeto de la autodeterminación de los pueblos, lo que supone la identificación de una cara complementaria que, para mi, siempre han tenido aquellas obligaciones: además de dar a todo integrante de la sociedad internacional un interés jurídico en su respeto, les impone la carga de no reconocer situaciones contrarias a su respeto y de esforzarse por lograr el mismo mediante la cooperación, algo que ya se vislumbra en los artículos de la CDI sobre responsabilidad internacional, aunque en ellos se haga de forma algo más limitado al referirse (para sus efectos) a las violaciones graves al derecho imperativo (art. 41).

Dejo a continuación los extractos de la opinión consultiva que, a mi parecer, reflejan las consideraciones del tribunal sobre las primero de las cuestiones que resalto.

“76. The Court considers that it is not for the Court itself to determine the usefulness of its response to the requesting organ. Rather, it should be left to the requesting organ, the General Assembly, to determine “whether it needs the opinion for the proper performance of its functions” […]

81. The Court recalls that its opinion “is given not to States, but to the organ which isentitled to request it” […] The Court observes that the principle ofres judicata does not preclude it from rendering an advisory opinion. When answering a question submitted for an opinion, the Court will consider any relevant judicial or arbitral decision. In any event, the Court further notes that the issues that were determined by the Arbitral Tribunal in theArbitration regarding the Chagos Marine Protected Area […] are not the same as those that are before the Court in these proceedings.

85. The Court recalls that there would be a compelling reason for it to decline to give an advisory opinion when such a reply “would have the effect of circumventing the principle that aState is not obliged to allow its disputes to be submitted to judicial settlement without its consent” […]

86. The Court notes that the questions put to it by the General Assembly relate to thedecolonization of Mauritius. The General Assembly has not sought the Court’s opinion to resolve aterritorial dispute between two States. Rather, the purpose of the request is for the GeneralAssembly to receive the Court’s assistance so that it may be guided in the discharge of its functionsrelating to the decolonization of Mauritius. The Court has emphasized that it may be in the interest of the General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion which it deems of assistance in carrying out its functions in regard to decolonization […] 87. The Court observes that the General Assembly has a long and consistent record in seeking to bring colonialism to an end […]

88. The Court therefore concludes that the opinion has been requested on the matter of decolonization which is of particular concern to the United Nations. The issues raised by the request are located in the broader frame of reference of decolonization, including the GeneralAssembly’s role therein […] the fact that the Court may have to pronounce on legal issues on which divergent views have been expressed by Mauritius and the United Kingdom does not mean that, by replying to the request, the Court is dealing with a bilateral dispute […] 135. The Court recalls that it may depart from the language of the question put to it where the question is not adequately formulated”.

En lo concerniente a autodeterminación y el control intenso del respeto de la libertad decisoria de los pueblos, estos apartados, entre otros, me parecen relevantes:

“148. Having made respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples one of the purposes of the United Nations, the Charter included provisions that would enable non-self-governing territories ultimately to govern themselves. It is in this context that the Court must ascertain when the right to self-determination crystallized as a customary rule binding on all States […] In the Court’s view, there is a clear relationship between resolution 1514 (XV) and the process of decolonization following its adoption […] General Assembly resolutions, even if they are not binding, may sometimes havenormative value. They can, in certain circumstances, provide evidence important for establishing the existence of a rule or the emergence of an opinio juris […]

152. The Court considers that, although resolution 1514 (XV) is formally a recommendation, it has a declaratory character with regard to the right to self-determination as a customary norm, in view of its content and the conditions of its adoption. The resolution was adopted by 89 votes with 9 abstentions. None of the States participating in the vote contested the existence of the right of peoples to self-determination […] 153. The wording used in resolution 1514 (XV) has a normative character […] 157. The Court recalls that, while the exercise of self-determination may be achieved through one of the options laid down by resolution 1541 (XV), it must be the expression of the freeand genuine will of the people concerned […]

160. The Court recalls that the right to self-determination of the people concerned is defined by reference to the entirety of a non-self-governing territory […]

172. The Court observes that when the Council of Ministers agreed in principle to the detachment from Mauritius of the Chagos Archipelago, Mauritius was, as a colony, under the authority of the United Kingdom […] In the Court’s view, it is not possible to talk of an international agreement, when one ofthe parties to it, Mauritius, which is said to have ceded the territory to the United Kingdom, was under the authority of the latter. The Court is of the view that heightened scrutiny should be given to the issue of consent in a situation where a part of a non-self-governing territory is separated to create a new colony. Having reviewed the circumstances in which the Council of Ministers of the colony of Mauritius agreed in principle to the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago on the basis of the Lancaster House agreement, the Court considers that this detachment was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people concerned […]

 

177. The Court having found that the decolonization of Mauritius was not conducted in a manner consistent with the right of peoples to self-determination, it follows that the United Kingdom’s continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago constitutes a wrongful act […] 179. The modalities necessary for ensuring the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius fall within the remit of the United Nations General Assembly, in the exercise of its functionsrelating to decolonization. As the Court has stated in the past, it is not for it to “determine what steps the General Assembly may wish to take after receiving the Court’s opinion […]

180. Since respect for the right to self-determination is an obligation erga omnes, all States have a legal interest in protecting that right […] while it is for the General Assembly to pronounce on the modalities required to ensure the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius, all Member States must co-operate with the United Nations to put those modalities into effect” (subrayado añadido).

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