Seven years ago, on 3 February 2009, the International Court of Justice pronounced a solution in the case Romania vs. Ukraine over the delimitation of the maritime spaces of the two states in the Black Sea, alotting Romania nearly 79,43% of the disputed area. This means 9,700 square kilometers of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone, being Romania’s first extension of sovereign jurisdiction and sovereign rights since 1918.
It’s true that according to international law the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone are not considered territory, but a state can exercise it’s sovereign jurisdiction and sovereign rights over that area.
The solution is very important for Romania, but it is still very important for those who study public international law. A new thing about this case is that the decision of the Court was unanimous, there were no singular opinions or statements, a very rare situation in the history of the International Court of Justice.
Also, according to Professor Alain Pellet from the University Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense, “the case of Romania vs. Ukraine has rigorously and vigorously reformed the law of maritime delimitations and certainly represents a major gain for international jurisprudence”.
I will end this short article with the words of Bogdan Aurescu, the former Agent of Romania and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who declared two years ago, at a conference which marked five years since the International Court of Justice in The Hague delivered its judgment in the case concerning maritime delimitation in the Black Sea: “The use of International Law is a strategic option for Romania, as this choice maximizes its efforts to achieve its national interests. Solving, by these means, a longstanding dispute of 42 years, which was impossible to deal with through negotiations, is a telling proof of this conclusion. Indeed, the solution provided by the Court was better than any result that would have been achieved through negotiations. This case has consolidated the expertise of Romania in International Law, as well as the international profile of the Romanian School of International Law, and of my country as firm promoter of International Law instruments of dispute settlement.”
The team that made it possible was formed by:
Bogdan Aurescu – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Cosmin Dinescu – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Călin Fabian – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Prof. Allain Pellet, University Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
Prof. James Crawford, University Cambridge
Prof. Vaughan Lowe, Oxford
Daniel Muller, University Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La Défense
Simon Olleson, researcher British Institute of International and Comparative Law
Liviu Dumitru – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Ioana Preda – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Mirela Pascaru – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Catrinel Brumar – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
Irina Niță – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
lt. Commander (r) Octavian Buzatu
counter-admiral (r) Eugen Laurian
captain Ovidiu Neghiu
Gicu Borosi – National Agency for Mineral Resources, Romania
Mihai Gherman – National Agency for Mineral Resources, Romania