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Period 2020-2029

María Teresa Infante Caffi, candidate for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Thursday, 8 August, 2019

Professor María Teresa Infante Caffi graduated from the Universidad de Chile and pursued postgraduate studies at the Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, Geneva, Switzerland, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain and at The Hague Academy of International Law, The Netherlands. In addition to her academic accomplishments in Chile and abroad, she has experienced an outstanding career in the public sphere, where she has advised specifically in areas related to the Law of the Sea, polar zones, integration of neighbouring countries, dispute resolution, border issues and international cooperation in the framework of chemical disarmament and the International Criminal Court. 

Professor Infante Caffi was Director of the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales of the Universidad de Chile, co-director of the Master of Laws in International Law ( Universidad de Chile-Universität Heidelberg joint programme, and National Director of Frontiers and Limits of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Chile. She has served as co-agent before the International Court of Justice in cases with neighbouring countries. She currently serves as ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague. 

Possessing a vast experience in international negotiations at the bilateral, regional and global levels among other undertakings, Professor Infante Caffi has been instrumental in the completion of a regimen applicable to the free warehouse to handle Paraguayan cargoes, the 1999 Execution Act with Peru and its Regulations and the agreements on integrated border control with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Very important as well is to highlight her dedication to train young generations in the respect and commitment to International Law. 

She is a member of the Institut de Droit International (IDI), of the Instituto Hispano-Luso-Americano de Derecho Internacional (IHLADI) and of the National Group of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). She is currently the President of the Latin American Society of International Law (SLADI/LASIL) for the period 2016 to 2018. 

She has published in the Max Planck Encyclopaedia of International Law, Annuaire français de droit international, German Yearbook of International Law, Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy, Chinese Journal of International Law, Diplomacia, Estudios Internacionales, Ocean Development and International Law, Revista Colombiana de Derecho Internacional, Anuário Brasileiro de Direito Internacional, Revista de Derecho Público de la Universidad Diego Portales, among other academic journals. 

Chile assigns a fundamental value to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which reflects a comprehensive international agreement on marine affais. The candidacy of Professor Infante Caffi echoes the permanent commitment of Chile to International Law, which founds coexistence between States and an international order aimed at promoting respect for the rule of law, the competences of States in their maritime spaces, the regimes applicable to the high seas and to the seabed zone beyond national jurisdiction, emphasizing the full validity of the principle of common heritage of mankind. Cooperation in matters of common interest, the protection of the marine environment and its biodiversity as well as the differences that may emerge therein through peaceful means, are areas of special interest for the Law of the Sea.

Remarks made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Teodoro Ribera Neumann

For Chile, international law constitutes an essential basis of the relations between States, aiming to enhance the legal security and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The candidacy of Professor María Teresa Infante Caffi is a demonstration of this active commitment to international law. It is, also, a testimony to the value that Chile attaches to the objectives and principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is the fundamental instrument for the application and effectiveness of the rules of the Convention, as well as international law as a whole system.

Therefore, for the Government of Chile the nomination of Professor Infante Caffi, whose competence in the field of the law of the sea combined with her sense of impartiality and integrity, will make a decisive contribution to strengthening of ITLOS and mechanisms provided by the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Remarks made by the professor María Teresa Infante Caffi

My professional career is testimony of my adherence to the rule of law in the relations between the States, as well as with respect to the international community. These values are embodied in the objectives and principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, whose effect has unfolded over several decades.

This Convention and the subsequent agreements that implement it are irreplaceable tools for the peaceful relationship and harmonization of interests, among other issues. I have worked at the regional level in studying agreements to protect the marine environment and participated in the establishment of a national programme on the continental shelf, along with providing advice on the adoption and application of various agreements aimed at regulating the conservation and exploitation of living marine resources beyond national jurisdiction, issues related to landlocked countries, the resources of the seabed zone and the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity. 

In this order, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea constitutes a fundamental instrument for the effective application of the norms of the Convention, as well as of International Law as a whole. The Tribunal has provided outstanding pronouncements in all areas of the Law of the Sea, including marine delimitation, prompt release of vessels and crews, marine environment, conservation of marine resources and issues related to the exercise of the competences of the coastal State.