The International Law Relations Between Kingdom of Isles and Braavos

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The Kingdom of Isles and the United Republic of Braavos (“Braavos”) are two neighboring countries located in the Southern Hemisphere. To the south of these countries, lies the Narrow Sea. Soon after gaining independence, the Kingdom of Isles as a result of civil war, was divided into two independent nations; the Federation of Riverlands (“Riverlands”) and South Harrenhal. However, after the split up, Braavos was the official ruling body of South Harrenhal from 8th October, 1910 to 3rd August, 1913. Riverlands on the other hand remained under the civil administration of Republic of Naath (“Naath”), till the formation of its own government. The relationship between Riverlands and South Harrenhal has been plagued by hostility and suspicions. Both the countries have exchanged frequent artillery fires and skirmishes on the borders in the past.

Riverlands and Braavos since independence had prospering economies and have consistently maintained friendly relations with each other. While Braavos is a developed country, Riverlands is a developing, rapidly industrializing country. Braavos has been in possession of nuclear weapons since 2nd October, 1960 and became a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of the Nuclear Weapons (“NPT”) on 14th September, 1969.

Owing to the rapid industrialisation across the country, Riverlands had witnessed large scale depletion of its fossil fuel reserves and increasing demand for power. In order to reduce consumption of these limited resources, Riverlands decided to invest in alternative sources of energy. Since the State had a rich uranium reserve, it signed and ratified the NPT, to obtain international assistance for establishing and developing its nuclear power sector. This ratification was made on 1st April, 2000, where the Prime Minister of Riverlands announced that becoming a party to the treaty would also help reduce the nuclear threat of South Harrenhal. Subsequently, in 2004, Riverlands passed the Nuclear Power Act, through which the State established nuclear power plants for electricity generation.

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In the same year, Riverlands and Naath, a nuclear weapon state under the NPT, signed a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation agreement which entered into force pursuant to the necessary notifications on 6th October, 2004. Under the agreement, two pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors were transferred by Naath to Riverlands. In order to fuel the reactors, Naath also agreed to enter into long term fuel supply commitments with Riverlands. Following the success of its nuclear power generating project, in 2012, Riverlands announced its plans to strengthen this sector by building small indigenous plants that would recycle the fuel used to power the reactors.

In late 2014, South Harrenhal in collaboration with Braavos, conducted its first massive scale joint nuclear-test war exercise called the “Team Jorah the Explorer”. Following the exercise, there was a huge uproar in Riverlands’s Parliament regarding the country’s safety and integrity. The minority party, in the Parliament, urged the Government to develop its own nuclear explosives. In response, the Riverlands Defence Minister said, “Riverlands must consider all options that ensure its safety.” He further stated, “What remains clear is one thing, we can no longer remain bound to the NPT. We cannot allow restrictions under a treaty to impinge upon our national security and the integrity of our nation. It is recommended that the Riverlands withdraw itself from the NPT.”

As a result, on 1st April, 2015, the government of Riverlands formally sent a notice of withdrawal from the NPT to the United Nations Security Council and all the other state parties to the NPT. The notice was accompanied by a letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union Republic of Riverlands, explaining the extraordinary events which jeopardised the national interests of Riverlands. Riverlands’s withdrawal notice created tensions in the international community as it was feared that Riverlands would start procuring nuclear weapons.

On 21st June, 2017, various newspapers across Riverlands published news of land in an area 50 kilometres from a small village in Riverlands, which appeared to ‘rise and fall like a liquid’ and was followed by the formation of a large sinkhole in the area. This news gained international attention when the Braavarian Geological Survey, a Braavarian State agency responsible for monitoring seismic activity, reported seismic disturbances along the border with Riverlands. These disturbances were reported to have an epicentre within Riverlands’s territory. Various international newspapers published articles arguing how these events could only take place if underground nuclear tests had been conducted in the area. Riverlands’s Government refused to comment on this matter.

President Razdal of Braavos, called a press conference in Braavos on 24th June, 2017, where he made the following statement: “Riverlands’ decision to conduct underground nuclear weapon tests is a blatant violation of its international commitments of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. Not only is the development of nuclear weapons through such tests a possible threat to peace, it also has the strong likelihood of releasing radioactive radiation in the atmosphere, which risks the survival of generations to come. Riverlands must cease its nuclear armament at once”. In response, the Prime Minister of Riverlands issued a press note which read: “President Razdal has raised baseless allegations against our State. Since 2004 Riverlands has only used nuclear energy for peaceful purposes of electricity generation. There exists no proof of any underground nuclear tests conducted in our territory. Nonetheless, Braavos can no longer force any other international obligations on us as we have already withdrawn from the NPT.”

Following this, on 6 July, 2017, both States have agreed to refer this dispute to the International Court of Justice. Both countries have also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Ban Treaty. 11. At the ICJ, Braavos requests the Court to adjudge and declare: i. Riverlands has misused the provisions of the NPT, and also violated international law generally. Riverlands requests the Court to adjudge and declare: i. Riverlands has not committed any violation of international law.

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