News 05 Feb. 2021

London partners Charles Buderi and Luciana Ricart part of team securing absolute victory for the UAE at the International Court of Justice

Curtis London partner Charles Buderi led the Curtis team that secured an absolute victory for the UAE in proceedings brought by Qatar before the International Court of Justice alleging violations of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). London partner Luciana Ricart, London associates Angus Thompson and Belén Ibañez, consultant Prof. Tullio Treves and counsel Renato Treves in Milan, counsel Fuad Zarbiyev and associate Amrane Medjani in Geneva also formed part of the Curtis team that worked on the case. The UAE was also represented by other international law practitioners, including Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC and Prof. Mathias Forteau and a legal team based in Abu Dhabi from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Ambassador AlNaqbi, and including Scott Sheeran and Paolo Busco amongst others.

Qatar alleged that a series of measures adopted by the UAE after June 2017 restricting the entry of Qatari nationals into the UAE territory for national security reasons given the links of Qatar to terrorism violated the CERD, which prohibits discrimination based on “national origin”.

On 4 February, the International Court of Justice in a 11-6 decision upheld the main jurisdictional objection of the UAE and held that, while the CERD prohibits discrimination based on “national origin”, it does not apply to claims arising out of differential treatment accorded to certain individuals on the basis of their “current nationality”. Qatar also argued that the contested measures amounted to an “indirect discrimination” on the basis of national origin but that argument was also dismissed by the Court. The Court found it unnecessary to deal with the other jurisdictional objection of the UAE because it had already found in favour of the UAE.

The full judgment of the International Court of Justice and the separate and dissenting opinions can be found here.

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