Part B Commentary on Judgments and Awards in Maritime Boundary Delimitation Disputes, 7 Guinea v. Guinea-Bissau (Award of the Arbitral Tribunal, 14 February 1985)
Stephen Fietta, Robin Cleverly
- Coastal states — Continental shelf — Delimitation — Straits — Territorial sea — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea)
The case outlined in this chapter concerned the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in the Atlantic Ocean. These countries are adjacent States situated on the West African coast, between Senegal (to the north) and Sierra Leone (to the south). The dispute here dates back to 1958. The chapter finishes with some thoughts on the importance of this case for international law. The case is one of the first examples in modern international law of a maritime boundary dispute being settled by way of ad hoc arbitration and a rare modern example of a maritime boundary dispute being settled by a panel of three (as opposed to five) arbitrators. The Award is notable for its breadth and flexibility as to the methodology to be adopted in single maritime boundary delimitation and the scope of relevant factors. The Award is, this chapter states, perhaps best known for its close attention to the regional context of the delimitation.