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Application of the CERD
Convention (Qatar v
UAE) before the CERD
Committee and the ICJ
By Adela Perez del Viso-
Universidad Católica de Cuyo San Luis. 2020
https://www.ejiltalk.org/application
-of-the-cerd-convention-qatar-v-
uae-and-parallel-proceedings-
before-the-cerd-committee-and-
the-icj/
Last week, the International Court of Justice held hearings to
consider the United Arab Emirates request for provisional measures
in the Case concerning the Application of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
(Qatar v. UAE).
The UAE has made requests under four grounds.
One of them is the following: ‘(i) Qatar immediately withdraw its
Communication submitted to the CERD Committee [the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination] pursuant to Article 11 of
the CERD on 8 March 2018 against the UAE’. The request raises the
question of whether international law has developed a principle of lis
pendens such that parallel proceedings before different
international bodies should be disallowed.
Two mechanisms for inter-state disputes under the CERD
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination (the CERD Convention) contains two
mechanisms for inter-state “complaints”.
First, Articles 11-13 provide for inter-state communications
whereby one state party, considering that another state party is not
giving effect to the provisions of the Convention, may bring the
matter to the attention of the CERD Committee.
Second, Article 22 provides that any dispute between two or
more states parties with respect to the interpretation or
application of the CERD Convention can be referred to the ICJ
for decision.
Articles 11-13 of the CERD Convention apply to all states parties upon ratification,
representing a compulsory inter-state communications mechanism. This
compulsory character is unique among the UN international human rights treaties.
The first such communication was Palestine v Israel (2018).
On 20 August 2018, CERD issued an “information note on inter-state
communications” – its first statement on the Articles 11-13 procedure – affirming
two other such communications, and that the Committee received first Qatar v
Saudi Arabia and Qatar v United Arab Emirates (8 March 2018), followed by
Palestine v Israel (23 April 2018).
Thus, Qatar v Saudi Arabia (ICERD-ISC-2018/1) represents the first inter-state
communication under the CERD Convention.
Qatar v United Arab Emirates has advanced from an initial submission
under Article 11(1) to a “resubmission” under Article 11(2). Qatar is now
seeking the appointment of an ad hoc Conciliation Commission under
Article 12.
Qatar v United Arab Emirates has been submitted under both the
Articles 11-13 and the Article 22 procedures.
UAE argued before the ICJ that Qatar has initiated abusive parallel legal
proceedings under the CERD Convention. It counts these as three – the
communication under Article 11, the recent request to establish a Conciliation
Commission under Article 12, and the current ICJ proceedings.
The UAE believes this represents ‘the same claim against the UAE, in parallel
proceedings in the CERD Committee, based on the same treaty and seeking the
same remedy.’
It argues overall for the application of the domestic lis pendens rule, according to
which domestic courts cannot accept jurisdiction over a case already pending
before another court in the same system. The UAE submission accepted this rule
may not yet have crystallised in international law but invited the Court to fashion a
type of lis pendens order as a case-specific and contextually appropriate remedy.
The UAE argued further that the CERD Convention drafters designed a sequential framework for
dispute settlement.
This means that first, a complaint would be filed under Article 11(1).
Second, upon unsuccessful negotiations or other procedures, the matter would be referred again
to the CERD Committee at the request of either party in accordance with Article 11(2).
The UAE roots its arguments in the wider problems ‘infecting’
parallel procedures. In particular, it highlights the fact that parallel
proceedings in two fora could lead to two different results, ‘that
could shatter the expectations of certainty in the assessment of
international law’. It also indicates the possibility that the Articles
11-13 recommendations will emerge before the Court will have a
chance to hear the Parties and issue its decision.
The UAE asks – ‘[w]ill the Court be bound by interpretations of
the Convention made by the CERD institutions? If not, the Court
then becomes an alternative option for Qatar in case it does not
find the CERD Committee’s interpretations and recommendations
to its liking.’
Qatar’s response
According to Qatar neither the CERD Committee nor the Conciliation
Commission are judicial bodies to which the principle of lis
pendens might apply. The States concerned are free to accept or reject
the Commission’s recommendations as they see fit. Moreover, even if
the lis pendens doctrine were in principle applicable, the situation does
not meet the criteria for the application of the doctrine, that is, that an
identical dispute be put before two courts. In its view, the CERD
Committee and ICJ proceedings are not the same, since the
proceedings and the relief sought are not identical. The CERD
Committee was not asked to adjudicate upon anything, but only to
transmit a request that the UAE end the coercive measures, with Qatar
expressly reserving its right to all other dispute resolution avenues open
to it. This, in its view, is in contrast to the ICJ proceedings where Qatar
asks the Court to adjudge and declare a series of breaches of
international law, and to order the UAE to take a series of steps.
It remains to be seen how the Court interprets Article 22
to determine its relationship with the Articles 11-13
procedure. The most logical approach: to consider the
differing roles of the CERD Committee and the Court.
11
https://www.ejiltalk.org/application-of-the-cerd-convention-qatar-v-uae-and-parallel-
proceedings-before-the-cerd-committee-and-the-icj/
THANK YOU !!
adelamperezdelviso@Gmail.com
12

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Procedural Law: An Icerd application upon the I.C.of Justice

  • 1. Application of the CERD Convention (Qatar v UAE) before the CERD Committee and the ICJ By Adela Perez del Viso- Universidad Católica de Cuyo San Luis. 2020
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  • 5. Last week, the International Court of Justice held hearings to consider the United Arab Emirates request for provisional measures in the Case concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Qatar v. UAE). The UAE has made requests under four grounds. One of them is the following: ‘(i) Qatar immediately withdraw its Communication submitted to the CERD Committee [the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination] pursuant to Article 11 of the CERD on 8 March 2018 against the UAE’. The request raises the question of whether international law has developed a principle of lis pendens such that parallel proceedings before different international bodies should be disallowed.
  • 6. Two mechanisms for inter-state disputes under the CERD The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the CERD Convention) contains two mechanisms for inter-state “complaints”. First, Articles 11-13 provide for inter-state communications whereby one state party, considering that another state party is not giving effect to the provisions of the Convention, may bring the matter to the attention of the CERD Committee. Second, Article 22 provides that any dispute between two or more states parties with respect to the interpretation or application of the CERD Convention can be referred to the ICJ for decision.
  • 7. Articles 11-13 of the CERD Convention apply to all states parties upon ratification, representing a compulsory inter-state communications mechanism. This compulsory character is unique among the UN international human rights treaties. The first such communication was Palestine v Israel (2018). On 20 August 2018, CERD issued an “information note on inter-state communications” – its first statement on the Articles 11-13 procedure – affirming two other such communications, and that the Committee received first Qatar v Saudi Arabia and Qatar v United Arab Emirates (8 March 2018), followed by Palestine v Israel (23 April 2018). Thus, Qatar v Saudi Arabia (ICERD-ISC-2018/1) represents the first inter-state communication under the CERD Convention. Qatar v United Arab Emirates has advanced from an initial submission under Article 11(1) to a “resubmission” under Article 11(2). Qatar is now seeking the appointment of an ad hoc Conciliation Commission under Article 12. Qatar v United Arab Emirates has been submitted under both the Articles 11-13 and the Article 22 procedures.
  • 8. UAE argued before the ICJ that Qatar has initiated abusive parallel legal proceedings under the CERD Convention. It counts these as three – the communication under Article 11, the recent request to establish a Conciliation Commission under Article 12, and the current ICJ proceedings. The UAE believes this represents ‘the same claim against the UAE, in parallel proceedings in the CERD Committee, based on the same treaty and seeking the same remedy.’ It argues overall for the application of the domestic lis pendens rule, according to which domestic courts cannot accept jurisdiction over a case already pending before another court in the same system. The UAE submission accepted this rule may not yet have crystallised in international law but invited the Court to fashion a type of lis pendens order as a case-specific and contextually appropriate remedy. The UAE argued further that the CERD Convention drafters designed a sequential framework for dispute settlement. This means that first, a complaint would be filed under Article 11(1). Second, upon unsuccessful negotiations or other procedures, the matter would be referred again to the CERD Committee at the request of either party in accordance with Article 11(2).
  • 9. The UAE roots its arguments in the wider problems ‘infecting’ parallel procedures. In particular, it highlights the fact that parallel proceedings in two fora could lead to two different results, ‘that could shatter the expectations of certainty in the assessment of international law’. It also indicates the possibility that the Articles 11-13 recommendations will emerge before the Court will have a chance to hear the Parties and issue its decision. The UAE asks – ‘[w]ill the Court be bound by interpretations of the Convention made by the CERD institutions? If not, the Court then becomes an alternative option for Qatar in case it does not find the CERD Committee’s interpretations and recommendations to its liking.’
  • 10. Qatar’s response According to Qatar neither the CERD Committee nor the Conciliation Commission are judicial bodies to which the principle of lis pendens might apply. The States concerned are free to accept or reject the Commission’s recommendations as they see fit. Moreover, even if the lis pendens doctrine were in principle applicable, the situation does not meet the criteria for the application of the doctrine, that is, that an identical dispute be put before two courts. In its view, the CERD Committee and ICJ proceedings are not the same, since the proceedings and the relief sought are not identical. The CERD Committee was not asked to adjudicate upon anything, but only to transmit a request that the UAE end the coercive measures, with Qatar expressly reserving its right to all other dispute resolution avenues open to it. This, in its view, is in contrast to the ICJ proceedings where Qatar asks the Court to adjudge and declare a series of breaches of international law, and to order the UAE to take a series of steps.
  • 11. It remains to be seen how the Court interprets Article 22 to determine its relationship with the Articles 11-13 procedure. The most logical approach: to consider the differing roles of the CERD Committee and the Court. 11 https://www.ejiltalk.org/application-of-the-cerd-convention-qatar-v-uae-and-parallel- proceedings-before-the-cerd-committee-and-the-icj/