Should the United States back Mauritian sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelagos ?

Thursday, August 6th, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Add to Calendar: Add to Calendar: 2020-08-06 12:00:00 2020-08-06 13:00:00 Should the United States back Mauritian sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelagos ? Event Description In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory, forcibly removing the entire population after purchasing the land to create the British Indian Ocean Territory. Diego Garcia, the largest island, was then leased to the United States to create a military base to protect American interests in the area. After long-standing promises to turn the archipelago back over failed to materialize,  a 2019 advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice ruled that the Chagos Islands should be handed over to Mauritius in order to complete its decolonization. To date, the United Kingdom has not chosen to comply with the ruling. The lecture will cover the background and legal implications of the Chagos dispute following decisions of the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea Tribunal and the International Court of Justice. The conspiracy to depopulate the island as well as the plight of the islanders will also be considered. Finally, the question is asked as to the option faced by the United States for its continued operation of its base on the island of Diego Garcia. The documentary Stealing a Nation provides background information about this lecture. Speaker Information Mr Satyajit Boolell was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions for Mauritius in February 2009 after he had held posts at high levels in the Attorney General’s Office since he joined the public service in September 1986. He has also served as Parliamentary Counsel responsible for the drafting of legislation from 2003 to 2009. Mr Boolell reckons several years of experience as a prosecutor and as a law officer handling appeals before the Mauritian Courts and before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was made Senior Counsel in 2010. He has represented Government in various negotiations at international level. Mr Boolell has also been called upon by the Commonwealth Secretariat as legal consultant for the drafting of the model law on Competition for small jurisdictions. He has also chaired the drafting Committee for the Harare Scheme on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which included the drafting of the Model Law on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. Mr Boolell is the present Chairman of the Criminal Law Review set up by the Law Reform Commission of Mauritius, of which he is a member. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP). He is the Editor of the Mauritius Criminal Law Review. Mr Boolell is married with three children. He holds a Master’s Degree in Law from King’s College, London and was called to the Bar in the United Kingdom at Lincoln’s Inn in July 1985. As Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Boolell currently heads an office with approximately 60 law officers responsible for prosecution services in Mauritius.  School of Law School of Law America/New_York public

Sponsored by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center

The event is free to attend virtually

1 hour online CLE credit 

In-Person CLE Credit Unavailable

Webcast Archive Content

Video: Should the United States back Mauritian sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelagos?

Event Description

In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory, forcibly removing the entire population after purchasing the land to create the British Indian Ocean Territory. Diego Garcia, the largest island, was then leased to the United States to create a military base to protect American interests in the area.

After long-standing promises to turn the archipelago back over failed to materialize,  a 2019 advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice ruled that the Chagos Islands should be handed over to Mauritius in order to complete its decolonization. To date, the United Kingdom has not chosen to comply with the ruling.

The lecture will cover the background and legal implications of the Chagos dispute following decisions of the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea Tribunal and the International Court of Justice. The conspiracy to depopulate the island as well as the plight of the islanders will also be considered. Finally, the question is asked as to the option faced by the United States for its continued operation of its base on the island of Diego Garcia. The documentary Stealing a Nation provides background information about this lecture.

Speaker Information

Mr Satyajit Boolell was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions for Mauritius in February 2009 after he had held posts at high levels in the Attorney General’s Office since he joined the public service in September 1986.

He has also served as Parliamentary Counsel responsible for the drafting of legislation from 2003 to 2009.

Mr Boolell reckons several years of experience as a prosecutor and as a law officer handling appeals before the Mauritian Courts and before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was made Senior Counsel in 2010.

He has represented Government in various negotiations at international level. Mr Boolell has also been called upon by the Commonwealth Secretariat as legal consultant for the drafting of the model law on Competition for small jurisdictions. He has also chaired the drafting Committee for the Harare Scheme on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which included the drafting of the Model Law on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Mr Boolell is the present Chairman of the Criminal Law Review set up by the Law Reform Commission of Mauritius, of which he is a member. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP). He is the Editor of the Mauritius Criminal Law Review.

Mr Boolell is married with three children. He holds a Master’s Degree in Law from King’s College, London and was called to the Bar in the United Kingdom at Lincoln’s Inn in July 1985. As Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Boolell currently heads an office with approximately 60 law officers responsible for prosecution services in Mauritius. 

Satyajit Boolell

Satyajit Boolell, Director of Public Prosecutions for Mauritius