This blog has had a number of posts upon the injustice of the compulsory re-location of the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands to make way for the establishment of a huge US air-base at Diego Garcia, The Chagossians have won several key legal battles and the UK government under both political parties have defied rulings against it, eventually resorting to the royal prerogative to avoid obeying the courts. However, that unique British escape-clause has no standing under international law.
The International Court of Justice ruled against the UK and the United Nations General Assembly demanded that Britain “withdraw its colonial administration … unconditionally within a period of no more than six months.” 116 states voted in favour of the resolution, 55 abstained and only 5 countries supported the UK.
But once again Her Majesty's government refused to acknowledge the authority of world opinion. Such behaviour from any other nation would normally be condemned by the British government and some form of sanction imposed upon it.
Now, another stage in the campaign for Britain to follow the rule of law has been reached. Charges have been filed with the International Criminal Court alleging the London based administration of the British Indian Ocean Territory and its military representative at Diego Garcia, Commander Kay Burbridge, RN, are engaging in the crime of apartheid and should be arrested and brought to The Hague for trial. According to the submission to the ICC the British administration has instituted laws that prevent the Chagossians from living in the Chagos islands and they may visit only under military escort.
The Chagossians despite having lived on the disputed islands for up to 8 generations have been stripped of property rights and citizenship. They fear retaliation and are asking for protection from the International Criminal Court.
The Chagossians’ lawyer, Dr. Jonathan Levy, notes: “Racism is the enemy of all mankind and Apartheid is the highest form of racism. For officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and their legal advisors to promote racism is completely unacceptable. The Chagossians only seek to return to their homes and property; the secret US/UK base at Diego Garcia can coexist with the Chagossians.”