A new (and questionable) institute to guarantee the right of access to the high seas: the Junction Area established in Croatian territorial sea
Un nuovo (e discutibile) istituto volto a garantire il diritto di accesso all’alto mare: la Junction Area creata nel mare territoriale croato
This paper analyses the Junction Area created by the Arbitral Tribunal which, in June 2017, released its Final Award on the territorial and maritime dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. Although the Area is established in Croatian territorial sea, all ships and aircraft passing through this zone to go to or come from Slovenia, enjoy some freedoms of communications which are «exercisable as if they were high seas freedoms exercisable in an exclusive economic zone».
Firstly, this Junction Area is analysed as an institute aiming to guarantee Slovenia’s right of access to and from the high seas: it represents a crucial innovation within the regime of states, such as land-locked and geographically disadvantaged states, having a limited access to the sea, and it might have some meaningful consequences in their future discipline. Secondly, the comparison between the Junction Area and other institutes of the international law of the sea consents to point out some shortcomings of the zone created by the Arbitral Tribunal. As the discipline of the exclusive economic zone represents the main element characterising the regime of this Area, the freedoms of communication recognised within this zone go significantly beyond what is strictly necessary to assure communication between Slovenia’s territorial waters and the high seas, and this results in some meaningful restrictions on Croatia’s sovereignty.
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