Carlos Fernández Casadevante: The triumph of law


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Although it is obvious, and in the field of politics with its multiple interests, International Law is ignored (or violated) and it is preferred to act as if reality did not exist, the truth is that the territory of the Western Sahara is NOT Moroccan territory no matter how much the Kingdom of Morocco tries to affirm it. Much to his regret, International Law does not support his thesis. On the contrary, both the UN Charter of 1945 and the resolutions of the General Assembly adopted in the matter of decolonization since the decade of the 60s of the last century, proclaim the right to self-determination of which the Sahrawis are entitled ( they yes, not them

nationalists who invoke it in Spain claiming independence).

That is, “the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to seek their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter.” . At the same time, that same International Law declares that, as is the case of Western Sahara, “the territory of a colony or other non-autonomous territory has, by virtue of the Charter, a different and separate legal status from the State” that administers it or occupies; a condition that “will exist until the people of the colony or non-autonomous territory have exercised their right of self-determination” (Resolution 2625 XXV, of the General Assembly, of 1970).

In short, nothing new under the sun: in the same way as Spain could not cede to Morocco and Mauritania the administration of a territory that was not theirs (Hence the invalidity of the 1975 Madrid Agreement that materialized it with respect to Western Sahara), Morocco cannot exploit or dispose of the resources of a territory that is not its own, nor can the EU enter into international treaties that violate the rights of the people. Saharan. Also in this regard, International Law is radically clear, affirming the right of peoples like the Saharawi “to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources” (General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), which contains the Declaration on the granting of the independence to the colonial countries and peoples, of December 14, 1960).

And this is what the CJEU has repeated (affirmed in 2015), in its judgment of September 29, declaring that the commercial and fishing agreements concluded by Morocco with the European Union have not respected the rights of the Sahrawis to give their consent. In other words, they have violated their right to self-determination. Something that both the EU and its Member States and the Kingdom of Morocco, already knew.

Carlos Fernández Casadevante, Professor of International Law at the Rey Juan Carlos University.

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