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Guyana v Suriname (2007), Arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (Link)


2 of S’s naval patrol vessels ordered a drilling ship and its support vessels out of disputed waters claimed by both countries.


Whether this action amounted to a use of force, and whether this use of force was a breach of international law


Treaties have to be interpreted on state practice and subsequent agreements.


** Guyana alleges a violation of art 2(3) and (4) of the Charter (therefore need not find a use of force, just a violation of an obligation to settle the dispute by peaceful means) --- S responds that it was merely an exercise of coastal law enforcement in waters that are its own
** It was unclear what exactly the orders by the S boats meant
** Therefore the order given was an explicit threat that force might be used if the order was not complied with
** There is a right to exercise law enforcement jurisdiction which includes boarding and inspecting, arrest and even a minimum use of force
** However, here the action was more consistent with a military action than mere law enforcement activity
** The action is not defensible as countermeasures, as the Draft Articles on state responsibility (reflective of CIL) clearly prohibit the use of force in countermeasures


Threat of use of force found, and was not justified.

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