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Remarks by: James Kateka, Mamadou Hébié, Marc Weller, Milena Sterio, and Nawi Ukabiala

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2021


This panel was convened at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, June 25, 2020, by its moderator James Kateka of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, who introduced the panelists: Mamadou Hébié of the International Court of Justice; Marc Weller of the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law; Milena Sterio of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; and Nawi Ukabiala of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Mock Oral Argument: The Case for Self-Determination in the 21st Century
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law.

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1 Judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea since October 1, 2005.

2 Special Assistant to the President at International Court of Justice and Assistant Professor of International Law at Leiden University.

3 Professor of International Law and International Constitutional Studies, University of Cambridge, and Barrister (Middle Temple), Doughty Street Chambers. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by Ms. Kiara Sarronwala.

4 The Charles R. Emrick Jr. – Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

5 Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York.

6 UN Charter, Oct. 24, 1945, 1 UNTS XVI, available at

7 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Dec. 16, 1966, 999 UNTS 171, available at

8 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Dec. 16, 1966, 993 UNTS 3, available at

9 GA Res. 1514 (XV) (Dec. 14, 1960); GA Res. 2066 (XX) (Dec. 16, 1965); GA Res. 2232 (XXI) (Dec. 20, 1966); GA Res. 2357 (XXII) (Dec. 19, 1967).

10 UN Charter, supra note 6.

11 ICCPR, supra note 7.

12 ICESCR, supra note 8.

13 See Catalonia, Britannica, at

14 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 1979, at

15 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006, at

16 Constitutional Court Ruling 31/2010 (June 28, 2010) (Spain), at

17 Constitutional Court Ruling, 114/2017 (Oct. 17, 2017) (Spain), available at

18 Catalan Declaration of Independence, Oct. 27, 2017, available at

19 Catalonia, supra note 15; see also Erin Blakemore, Why Spain's Wealthiest Region Wants Independence, Nat'l Geographic (Nov. 1, 2019), at

20 International Law Commission, Peremptory Norms of International Law (Jus Cogens), available at

21 Id.

22 Id.

23 UN Charter, supra note 6, Art. 1; ICCPR, supra note 7; ICESCR, supra note 8, Art. 1; see nn. 24–26 infra.

24 Case Concerning East Timor (Port. v. Austl.), Judgment, 1995 ICJ Rep. 90, para. 29 (June 30).

25 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, 2004 ICJ Rep. 136, paras. 88, 156 (July 9).

26 Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, Advisory Opinion, 2019 ICJ Rep. 95, paras. 48–82 (Feb. 25) (sep. op., Robinson, J.).

27 Reference re Secession of Quebec, [1998] 2 SCR 217 (Can.).

28 Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, Advisory Opinion, 2010 ICJ Rep. 403, paras. 82–83 (July 22).

29 Matthew Saul, The Normative Status of Self-Determination in International Law: A Formula for Uncertainty in the Scope and Content of the Right?, 11 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 609, 616 (2011).