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How Southern Cameroons lost 300 billion dollars worth of oil due to ignorance of La Republique du Cameroun



How Southern Cameroons lost 300 billion dollars worth of oil due to ignorance of La Republique du Cameroun

In the Maritime delimitation section of the Cameroon/Nigeria case, La Republique du Cameroun was totally confused. It did not understand both the surveying and the law and all what it was saying was serially REJECTED by the ICJ and all the relevant sea area/oil given to Nigeria hence based on advice from Ajibola, Nigeria quickly accepted the judgment “for Nigeria had won the economy fight whilst Cameroon won the political fight by having Bakassi with little attached to it”. Over 300 billion dollars of oil worth given to Nigeria because Cameroon was applying the wrong law and principles in the ICJ. Below is the relevant section of the judgement concerning the sea where the oil is.

291. In the present case the Court cannot accept Cameroon’s contention, on the one hand, that account should be taken of the coastline of the Gulf of Guinea from Akasso (Nigeria) to Cap Lopez (Gabon) in order to delimit Cameroon’s maritime boundary with Nigeria, and, on the other, that no account should be taken of the greater part of the coastline of Bioko Island. First, the maritime boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria can only be determined by reference to points on the coastlines of these two States and not of third States. Secondly, the presence of Bioko makes itself felt from Debundsha, at the point where the Cameroon coast turns south-south-east. Bioko is not an island belonging to either of the two Parties. It is a constituent part of a third State, Equatorial Guinea. North and east of Bioko the maritime rights of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea have not yet been determined. The part of the Cameroon coastline beyond Debundsha Point faces Bioko. It cannot, therefore be treated as facing Nigeria so as to be relevant to the maritime delimitation between Cameroon and Nigeria (see below, p. 444, sketchmap No. 1 1).

292. Once the base points have been established in accordance with the above-mentioned principles laid down by the Court in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar v. Buhrain), it will be possible to determine the equidistance line between the relevant coastlines of the two States. As the Court has already had occasion to explain, this equidistance line cannot be extended beyond a point where it might affect rights of Equatorial Guinea. This limitation on the length of the equidistance line is unavoidable, whatever the base points used. In the present case the Court has determined that the Land-based anchorage points to be used in the construction of the equidistance line are West Point and East Point, as determined on the 1994 edition of British Admiralty Chart 3433. These two points, situated respectively at 8″ 16’38” longitude fast and 4″ 31’59” latitude north and 8″ 30′ 14″ longitude east and 4″ 30’06” latitude north, correspond to the most southerly points on the low-water line for Nigeria and Cameroon to either side of the bay formed by the estuaries of the Akwayafe and Cross Rivers. Given the configuration of the coastlines and the limited area within which the Court has jurisdiction to effect the delimitation, no other base point was necessary for the Court in order to undertake this operation.

293. The Court will now consider whether there are circumstances that might make it necessary to adjust this equidistance line in order to achieve an equitable result. As the Court stated in the Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/ Malta) case: “the equidistance method is not the only method applicable to the present dispute, and it does not even have the benefit of a presumption in its favour. Thus. under existing law. it must be demonstrated that the equidistance method leads to an equitable result in the case in question.” (I. (2 J. Reports 1985, p. 47, pars. 63.)

294. The Court is bound to stress in this connection that delimiting with a concern to achieving an equitable result, as required by current international law, is not the same as delimiting in equity. The Court’s jurisprudence shows that, in disputes relating to maritime delimitation, equity is not a method of delimitation, but solely an aim that should be borne in mind in affecting the delimitation.

295. The geographical configuration of the maritime areas that the Court is called upon to delimit is a given. It is not an element open to by the Court but a fact on the basis of which the Court must effect the delimilitation. As the Court had occasion to state in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases, “[elquity does not necessarily imply equality”, and in a delimitation exercise “[tlhere can never be any question of completely refashioning nature” (I. C. J. Reports 1969, p. 49, para. 91). Although (certain geographical peculiarities of maritime areas to be delimited may be taken into account by the Court, this is solely, as relevant circumstances, for the purpose, if necessary, of adjusting or shifting the provisional delimitation line. Here again, as the Court decided in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases, the Court is not required to take all such geographical peculiarities into account in order to adjust or shift the provisional (delimitation line: “it is therefore not a question of totally refashioning geography whatever the facts of the situation but, given a geographical situation of quasi-equality as between a number of States, of abating the effects of an incidental special feature from which an unjustifiable difference of treatment could result” (I.C.J. Reports 1969, p. 50, para. 9 1).

296. Cameroon contends that the concavity of the Gulf of Guinea in general, and of Carneroon’s coastline in particular, creates a virtual enclavement of Came:roon, which constitutes a special circumstance to be taken into account the delimitation process. Nigeria argues that it is not for the Court to compensate Cameroon for any disadvantages suffered by it as a direct consequence of the geography of the area. It stresses that it is not the purpose of international law to refashion geography.

297. The Court does not deny that the concavity of the coastline may be a circumstance relevant to delimitation, as it was held to be by the Court in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases arid as was also so held by the Arbitral Tribunal in the case concerning the Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Guinea and Guineu-Bissau, decisions on which Cameroon relies. Nevertheless, the Court stresses that this can only be the case when such concavity lies within the area to be delimited. Thus, in the GuineaiGuinea-Bissau case, the Arbitral Tribunal did not address the disadvantage resulting from the concavity of the Coast from a general viewpoint, but solely in connection with the precise course of the delimitation line between Guinea and Guinea.Bissau (ILM, Vol. 25 (1986), p. 295, para. 104). In the present case the Court has already determined that the coastlines relevant to delimitation between Cameroon and Nigeria do not include al1 of the coastlines of the two States within the Gulf of Guinea. The Court notes that the sectors of coastline relevant to the present delimitation exhibit no particular concavity. Thus the concavity of Cameroon’:; coastline is apparent primarily in the sector where it faces Bioko. Consequently, the Court does not consider that the configuration of the coastlines relevant to the delimitation represents a circumstance that would justify shifting the equidistance line as Cameroon requests.

298. Cameroon further contends that the pretence of Bioko Island constitutes a relevant circumstance which should be taken into account by the Court for purposes of the delimitation. It is guess that Bioko Island substantially reduces the seaward projection of Cameroon’s coastline. Here again Nigeria takes the view that it is not for the Court to compensate Cameroon for any disadvantages suffered by it as a direct consequence of the geography of the area.

299. The Court accepts that islands have sometimes been taken into account as a relevant circumstance in delimitation when such islands lay within the zone to be delimited and fell under the sovereignty of one of the parties. This occurred in particular in the case concerning the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the French Republic (RIAA, Vol. XVIII, p. 3), on which Cameroon relies. However, in that case, contrary to what Cameroon contends. the Court of Arbitration sought to draw a delimitation line and not to provide equitable compensation for a natural inequality.

In the present case Bioko Island is subject to the sovereignty of Equatorial Guinea, a State which is not a party to the proceedings. Consequently, the effect of Bioko Island on the seaward projection of the Cameroonian coastal front is an issue between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea and not between Cameroon and Nigeria, and is not relevant to the issue of delimitation before the Court. The Court does not, therefore regard the presence of Bioko Island as a circumstance that would justify the shifting of the equidistance line as Cameroon claims.

300. Lastly, Cameroon invokes the disparity between the length of its coastline and that of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea as a relevant circumstance that justifies shifting the delimitation line towards the north-west. For its part, Nigeria considers that Cameroon fails to respect the criteria of proportionality of coastline length, which would operate rather in Nigeria’s favour.

301. The Court acknowledges, as it noted in the cases concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada/United States of America) (I. C. J. Reports 1984, p. 336, paras. 221-222) and Maritime Delimitation in the area between Greenland and Jan Mayen (Denmark v. Norway) (I.C.J. Reports 1993, p. 34, para. 68), that a substantial difference in the lengths of the parties’ respective coastlines may be a factor to be taken into consideration in order to adjust or shift the provisional delimitation line. The Court notes that in the present case, whichever coastline of Nigeria is regarded as relevant., the relevant coastline of Cameroon, as described in paragraph 291, is not longer than that of Nigeria. There is, therefore no reason to shift the equidistance line in favour of Cameroon on this ground.

By Tumasang Martin

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