Ghana And Cote D’ivoire In Court Over Maritime Boundary Disagreement

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are considering a court settlement despite several years of good faith negotiations, including at least ten rounds of bilateral meetings without success over the location of their maritime boundary. This was made known by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marrieta Brew Appiah Oppong during a media briefing in Accra.

She believes this shall strengthen the relationship between the two countries by firmly and finally establishing the maritime boundary while offering further reassurance to Ghana’s international partners in the Petroleum industry that the boundary is where Ghana says it is, in order to erase possible doubts and uncertainties among domestic and foreign partners.

Ghana has initiated arbitration proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to establish its maritime boundary with Cote d’Ivoire in a manner that is equitable to both States, and final binding upon them in accordance with international law. Objective in contention of the dispute is a large area of sea and seabed, containing natural resources which are vital for the economic development and well-being of both citizens of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to Madam Appiah Oppong, the arbitration will proceed under Part XV and Annex VII of the Law of the Sea Convention. It will take place before a tribunal of five arbitrators, consisting of one appointed by each party and three by mutual agreement in Hamburg, Germany.

On this basis she noted that Ghana has appointed Judge Thomas Mensah who is former President of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, as a member of the Tribunal.

She explains the arbitrators shall decide the case by majority vote and the decision will be final and binding on the parties. She adds the proceedings might last approximately three years from beginning to end, but is confident Ghana is secured in its legal position as she shall head Ghana’s legal team from all relevant departments of government as agents for the nation in the legal tussle.

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