The Equidistance Theory Of Delimitation

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Introduction Delimitation involves the process to divide the sea into zones and specifies the rights and duties of States and ships flying their flags in those zones. If the maritime zones of two or more States frequently meet and overlap the line of separation to distinguish the right and obligations of States needs to be drawn. Under the treaty law, the 1958 Geneva Conventions on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone and Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), two main sets of principles have been developed in the process of maritime boundary delimitation and one of it is equidistance. The equidistance principle was defined “as the line every point of which is equidistant from the nearest point of the baselines…show more content…
It pointed out that under normal circumstances application of the equidistance concept that was developed and introduced by Whittemore Boggs the United States (UN) Geographer would have a satisfactory result (Dundua, 2006-2007). After that International Law Commission (ILC) was responsible to carry on and finish the work of this Codification Conference. The ILC established the committee of experts on technical questions that related to a maritime delimitation of the territorial sea. This committee met in The Hague in 1953 and approved certain guidelines. In the report, this committee preferred to use a median line in an opposite situation but also determined that special reasons such as navigational interests and fishing rights might call for the use of a different method (Dundua, 2006-2007). A lateral boundary should be drawn by making use of the principle of equidistance from the respective coastlines. ILC also considered equidistance to have a residual character, and the application of equidistance method was considered mandatory unless States agreed otherwise and once it was established, that special circumstances were absent (Dundua,…show more content…
These cases concerned about North Sea delimitation of the continental shelf. The court was asked to state the principles and rules of international law applicable and undertook thereafter to execute the delimitations on that basis. However, the court rejected the contention that the delimitations in question had to be carried out in accordance with the principle of equidistance as defined in the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf (ICJ, refworld, 1969). The use of equidistance in delimitation process would not achieve an equitable result and particularly left Germany small part of the North Sea CS. Hence, the court took account of the fact that the Germany had not ratified that Convention, and held that the equidistance concept was not inherent in the basic concept of continental shelf rights and that this concept was not a rule of customary international law (ICJ,

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