di Francesca Martines
SOMMARIO: 1. Premessa. – 2. Norme internazionali applicabili alla presenza del Marocco nel Sahara Occidentale. – 3. Violazioni gravi di norme di jus cogens e obblighi di non-riconoscimento in capo a soggetti terzi. – 4. Il contributo dell’Unione Europea all’affermazione del diritto di autodeterminazione del Sahara Occi-dentale. – 5. Osservazioni conclusive.
Observance of international law is considered an identity value of the European Union. The commitment towards international law is provided for in the Treaty, it is ensured by the ECJ, while EU institutions commonly profess their respect towards it. However, there are some discomforting examples where respect for international law is sacrificed to the altar of political realism. A recent ECJ judgment, excluding the application to the territory of Western Sahara of a EU-Morocco trade liberalization agreement, provides the occasion for the EU to opera-tionalize the (vague) international law obligation of non-recognition of serious violations of jus cogens. The main issue discussed in this paper is how can the EU contribute to the respect for the right to self-determination of Western Sahara by avoiding reinforcing the illegal presence of Morocco in this non-self-governing territory. The actions of EU institutions are crucial not only for the future relationship with an important EU commercial part-ner in an area of geopolitical concern, but also for the contribution to international law of the EU practice, which can clarify the more general issue of the obligation of third countries to refrain from actions that can help or fa-vour illegal actions of other states.