Foley Hoag LLP partner Paul Reichler was honored by the Republic of Mauritius as a Grand Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean on the occasion of the country’s 2022 National Day Celebrations. This distinction was bestowed by the President of the Republic, H.E. Prithvirajsing Roopun, and recognized Reichler expressly for his contribution to the decolonization of Mauritius.
The Most Distinguished Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean is the highest distinct order of merit in the honours system of Mauritius. It was founded in 1992 to decorate people who have made a contribution to social progress in the nations of the Indian Ocean.
“I am overjoyed and deeply grateful to receive this honor,” said Reichler. “But I feel as though I have already been honored by Mauritius for allowing me to be part of its international legal team, especially in the effort to confirm its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago and end the unlawful British occupation of those islands.”
Reichler and other attorneys from Foley Hoag joined with other prominent international advocates to plead Mauritius’ case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In February 2019, the Court, which is the world’s foremost international tribunal, agreed with Mauritius
by a 13-1 vote that the Chagos Archipelago, severed from Mauritius and annexed by the United Kingdom in 1965, forms an integral part of Mauritius’ territory, and that the UK must return it to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible.”
The ICJ ruling was subsequently endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, approved by an overwhelming majority of States, which called for immediate compliance by the UK.
Reichler also led Mauritius’ legal team in a successful arbitration
against a UK investor who complained about Mauritius’ denial of permission to build a luxury resort in close proximity to the country’s most cherished cultural and historical monument at Le Morne Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where escaped slaves defended their freedom in the 19th Century.