Ghana Defends Itself Against Argentina At International Tribunal
Ghana has filed a strong response to Argentina's claims for “provisional orders” to be made against Ghana by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany.
Argentina has asked the Tribunal to order the immediate release of the Argentine ship, ARA Libertad, which is the subject of litigation in Ghana.
It would be recalled that on 2nd October 2012, a creditor of Argentina, NML Capital Limited, obtained an order from the High Court in Ghana, arresting the vessel, as it pursued a case it has filed in Ghana to recover about $370,000,000 from Argentina.
Argentina has filed appeals against the court's orders in the Court of Appeal in Ghana.
In an interesting escalation of the matter, Argentina filed a claim against the Republic of Ghana at the ITLOS, claiming that the arrest of the vessel was in breach of United Nations Conventions.
It has now asked the Tribunal to make “a provisional order” against Ghana to immediately release the vessel to Argentina, even before the actual cases before the Tribunal and in the courts in Ghana are decided.
But Ghana has responded swiftly and robustly to Argentina's claims.
In a 10-page written submission that has been filed at the Tribunal (with over 90 pages of annexes), Ghana has argued that the Tribunal should reject Argentina's request for the provisional measures because firstly, the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the dispute submitted by Argentina.
Secondly the measures that Argentina has requested are not necessary or appropriate to preserve the rights of the parties to the dispute, and thirdly there is no urgency that justifies the imposition of the measures requested.
Since Argentina filed this case, some observers of the matter had wondered whether Ghana would either not show up at the Tribunal or 'play it soft' for Argentina to win, since technically, the Republic of Ghana is not a party to the legal suit in Ghana.
But with this filing, and Ghana being fully represented at Hamburg it appears Ghana is prepared to defend its courts in the matter.
A copy of Ghana's response is at http://www.itlos.org/index.php?id=222&L=0.
You can also watch the hearing live via webcam on http://www.itlos.org/index.php?id=133 between 9:30am and 1:30pm on 30th November 2012.