Debevoise Again Successfully Represents Qatar before the International Court of Justice

14 June 2019

World Court rejects UAE’s request for provisional measures against Qatar

Today the International Court of Justice (“ICJ” or the “Court”) held in favor of Qatar, by a vote of 15 to 1, in rejecting a request from the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) for provisional measures of protection.

Since August of 2017, the State of Qatar has engaged the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to advise with respect to its rights and the rights of Qatari citizens and businesses under international and other law to seek relief from the coercive measures imposed against Qatar and Qataris by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt. In June 2018, Qatar commenced proceedings against the UAE before the ICJ—the principal judicial organ of the United Nations also known as the World Court— under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the “CERD”), in relation to continuing human rights violations arising from the UAE’s discrimination against Qatar and Qataris.

In July 2018, the ICJ ordered provisional measures in favor of Qatar, directing the UAE to reunite families separated by the UAE’s measures, to allow Qatari students to resume their education, and to ensure Qataris to have access to justice before UAE courts.

In March of this year, the UAE filed a request for the indication of provisional measures against Qatar, claiming that Qatar has “aggravated” the dispute before the Court and allegedly seeking to preserve its “procedural” rights pending the Court’s final decision on the merits. Following a three-day hearing before the Court in May, the Court resoundingly rejected the UAE’s request by a vote of 15-1, concluding that none of the UAE’s requests met the Court’s standard to indicate provisional measures.

The Debevoise team representing Qatar before the Court was led by partners Catherine Amirfar and Donald Francis Donovan, and counsel Floriane Lavaud.

The full text of the ICJ’s decision can be found here.

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