Trump has the authority to make presidential decisions until he leaves the Oval Office, the academic said.
Rabat – Last week’s US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara has the legal and political weight of an act of state. The president of the Peruvian Institute of Law and International Relations, Miguel Angel Rodriguez Mackay, concluded that US recognition regarding Western Sahara will be US state policy in the future.
Rodriguez Mackay on Wednesday wrote in Peruvian outlet Diario Correo that international law considers the decision by US President Donald Trump a decision of US state policy. According to the international law expert, the US constitution grants Trump the power as the head of state to proclaim such matters.
The consequence of the decision is that the new recognition of Western Sahara’s status would “transcend” which administration is in power in the future. Decisions relating state policy are the domain of the president and constitute an expression of American state policy, Rodriguez Mackay analyzed.
Many commentators have expressed doubts over the weight of Donald Trump’s decision in the dying days of his presidency. Amid what Americans call a “lame duck session,” some saw the noteworthy decision as illegitimate. For Rodriguez Mackay the case appears to be much more clear: Up to the last minute of Trump’s term, his decisions constitute legal and political acts of state according to international law.
Legal and binding
Rodriguez Mackay considered the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara to be an “accolade to Morocco and its King, Mohammed VI.” The Peruvian law expert stated that the King, “due to his skill and persistence, has made the most powerful country in the world recognize Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan sovereignty.”
The analysis Rodriguez Mackay provided considers the authority of the president according to the US constitution and then applies that weight to the repercussions it has on international law. Samir Bennis, senior political adviser in Washington D.C. and co-founder of Morocco World News took the legal analysis one step further.
In a December 17 analysis, Bennis weighed the specific legal consequences of the decision and the way in which it was published. Bennis concluded that although the decision came through a presidential proclamation instead of an executive decision, precedent shows that such presidential decrees have always continued to be seen as a decision by the US state.
Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is well within his powers as US president, Bennis explained in a detailed opinion piece on Morocco World News. However, once President-Elect Joe Biden assumes office he will have similar powers, and does not have to fulfill Trump’s promise to open a consulate in Dakhla, Bennis concluded.