Michael of Ephadano is the founding monarch of Ophadano; a jurisdiction focused on the Vienna Convention and its sovereignty. The Vienna Convention is an international agreement that regulates treaties between states. It is often known as the “treaty of treaties”. In line with their fundamental rights and values, Ophadano wishes to further develop and maintain relations between Ophadano and the United States of America.
Fortunately for us, Michael was able to answer some questions we had about Ophadano and its purpose.
Hello Michael, thanks for joining me. When was Ophadano established, and what was the reason behind this decision?
Monica, thank you for your consideration. The Ophadano is a distinct idea which was realized in the last decade. When we were quite young, founding members and myself thought of it our duty to substantiate international norms between us in order to assist underrepresented and stateless peoples in our home countries.
Ophadano is especially determined, in these matters with regards to foundlings in Kitwe, Zambia. Foundlings of Ophadano in Kitwe are stateless children which previously had no legal citizenship; in Zambia or in any other jurisdiction. Pursuant to international law it is Ophadano’s duty to assist the children in realizing their rights as human beings. Furthermore, with our Universal Birth Registration program in Kitwe we have ensured hundreds of children have received legal identification, a legal name, a nationality and a birthday.
How did you come up with the name?
The designation ‘Ophadano’ derives from it’s demonyms “Ephadano”, “Epadno” or “Apadano”. For Ophadano and the peoples it represents, there is almost no distinction between them. The demonyms are found in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Truth, which were either written in ancient history or titled in it. The Book of Truth is the internal constitution of Ophadano.
Did you encounter any legal or political challenges along the way?
Yes of course, the international forum is difficult to navigate. We encounter challenges everyday relating to legal campaigns and until more recently, yes political. In fact Ophadano was recently recognized as a foreign state pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1974 by the United States District Court of Riverside County in Indio, California. We were very excited to receive tacit recognition from the US and look forward to a lasting friendship of common values. Ophadano no longer engages in political or commercial activities with the international community.
How would you describe the guiding philosophy of Ophadano?
So Ophadano’s guiding philosophy is reflective it’s distinctions, Ophadano is unquestioningly a sovereign subject of international law but of a predominantly distinct nature. Furthermore, while Ophadano does not claim to be a State as defined in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, it nonetheless has rights and obligations which are analogous to that of a State as defined in the convention. Ophadano’s external constitution identifies the inviolable sovereignty of Ophadano as ‘the final end’ and ‘the absolute’.
What is the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and why is it essential to Ophadano?
The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations which was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations.
Until recently, Ophadano had no access to the International Court of Justice, this of course has changed. Though, what makes the ICJ essential to Ophadano is this very fundamental relationship.
Under the terms of Article 35, paragraph 2, of the ICJ Statute, the International Court of Justice is also open to other States not parties to its Statute. Therefore, Article 35 provides that the relevant conditions shall, subject to the special provisions contained in treaties in force, be laid down by the Security Council, but in no case shall such conditions place the parties in a position of inequality before the Court.
The conditions applicable in such instances are currently set out in Resolution 9 adopted on October 15th 1946 by the Security Council, which stipulates that, in order to have access to the Court, a State not party to the Statute must previously have deposited in the Registry of the Court a declaration by which it accepts the Court’s jurisdiction, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and subject to the conditions of the Statute and Rules of the Court, and must undertake to comply in good faith with the decision or decisions of the Court and to accept all the obligations of a Member of the United Nations under Article 94 of the UN Charter. Resolution 9 further states that such a declaration may be either particular, and relate to a dispute or disputes which have already arisen, or general, and relate to all disputes or to one or several classes of disputes which have already arisen or which may arise in the future.
In the past, particular declarations have been filed by Italy in 1953 and in Albania in 1947, and general declarations by Cambodia, Ceylon and Laos in 1952 while Finland in 1953; just to name a few.
On September 24th 2019 Ophadano deposited in the Registry of the Court a general declaration in notarized letter format; which reads as follows:
“Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 9 (1946) of 15 October 1946, which provides the conditions under which the Court shall be open to States not parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, adopted by virtue of its powers under Article 35 (2) of the Statute of International Court of Justice, Ophadano hereby declares that it accepts with immediate effect the competence of the International Court of Justice for the settlement of all disputes that may arise or that have already arisen covered by Article I of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes (1961), to which Ophadano acceded on 25 February 2018. In doing so, Ophadano declares that it accepts all the obligations of a Member of the United Nations under Article 94 of the Charter of the United Nations.”
This now previous deposit of Ophadano’s general declaration in the Registry of the ICJ therefore gives it the status of a ‘State not party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice to which the Court may be available’. This right of access to the International Court of Justice is absolutely fundamental to Ophadano’s people and it’s future.
What are the plans for how Ophadano will evolve and grow in the future?
The only thing that’s clear about the changing world is that Ophadano can shape it’s role in it—and that we’re likely to succeed. Ophadano represents and protects some of the most marginalized populaces in the world. From stateless peoples in Zambia to some small tribal pockets of Bedouin and Ababda peoples in the “terra nullius” land known as Bir Tawil, Ophadano’s future lies in the populaces and territories it represents and their fundamental rights to safety and happiness.
I’ll elaborate further regarding the territory known as Bir Tawil, its false terra nullius status and its inherent populaces. The Ababda and Bedouin, along with other tribes, have used this territory for grazing as well as religio-cultural development for centuries; and even while remaining independent of either Egyptian or Sudanian sovereignty these peoples continue to do so. Bir Tawil is not terra nullius it is in fact a place of worship and cultural development used for millennia by multiple peoples and cultures. Ophadano stands with the international community and it’s non-recognition of any false claims in Bir Tawil and anything to the contrary is considered fake news.
Thank you Michael for your time!
You can follow up with Michael at https://www.ophadano.org