As is well known, Western Sahara is still a Non-Self-Governing Territory that is subject to a decolonisation process by the UN. As confirmed by the International Court of Justice in 1975 and the UN Legal Counsel in 2002, Morocco exercises neither sovereignty nor administering power over the territory, and it is simply an occupying power in Western Sahara. The legal implications of this situation are twofold. First, the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocol I to Western Sahara as an occupied territory. Second, as an occupying power, Morocco is obliged to comply with the relevant rules of international humanitarian law and other human rights instruments.
In consequence, the construction of the Moroccan wall in Western Sahara is clearly illegal because it implies the de facto annexation of the Sahrawi territory by the occupying power, Morocco, which is prohibited under the rules of international humanitarian law. It is also unlawful because of its devastating political, legal, economic, humanitarian, social, cultural and environmental consequences on the Sahrawi population. In short, the construction of the wall is illegal because it creates a “fait accompli” on the ground and thus constitutes a serious obstacle to the exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination and to peace and economic and social development of the whole Territory.