Bar Council of Maldives on Monday, September 4, said that it had examined the original copy of the letter sent by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to the Prime Minister of Mauritius.
The council said it inspected the letter which confirmed the Maldives government's decision to shift its stance and support Mauritius regarding the administrative ownership of the Chagos Archipelago, and to vote in favor of Mauritius at the United Nations.
The Bar Council said that while the letter confirmed the government's shift in stance to support Mauritius, it did not contain any specifics that would impact the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea's decision or the government's decision to relinquish control of part of its sovereign territory in the South Sea.
The letter in question was sent by President Solih to the Mauritian PM amid Mauritius's claim at the ITLOS against the Maldives regarding boundary demarcation.
Although Maldives continued to vote against Mauritius in the previous United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) regarding the transfer of administrative control of Chagos to Mauritius, President Solih affirmed Maldives would switch its previously held stand in favor of Mauritius in the next voting.
The Bar Council, formed under the Legal Profession Act (Law No. 5/2019), is mandated with the discretionary authority of conducting judicial assessments especially tied to cases of national interest. The council is also mandated with investigating the government’s actions in the ITLOS case regarding Maldives-Mauritius boundary demarcation case.
While the council has confirmed inspecting the letter, president Solih said last Saturday during a program on Raajje TV that he had submitted the letter to the authority for their assessment.
Bar Council President Ismail Wisham, speaking on behalf of the council’s three-member law review committee (LRC) said they received all relevant documents submitted by the government in the ITLOS case including the letter to the Mauritian PM.
Wisham said the General Council of the Bar Council visited President’s Office to validate the authenticity of the letter as well.
“So, we have verified beyond any doubt that the copy of the letter we received is authentic,” Wisham added. Wisham attested the letter did not contain particulars that would affect the ITLOS decision nor the government’s decision to relinquish part from its sovereign territory.
“The committee has clarified that the letter does not contain any particulars that would affect the ITLOS decision, and neither does it contain the government’s decision to relinquish part of its sovereign territory or freedom,” Wisham said.
Wisham also assured that the committee would conduct a thorough assessment, including all relevant documents, the government's actions in the ITLOS case, and interviews with individuals who opposed the government's legal position in the case.
The report will also outline whether or not the government advocated in the best interest of the Maldives in the case.