World Court hears dispute over sea

Nicaragua and Colombia today will present opening arguments before the International Court of Justice to resolve a decades-old legal dispute over  the maritime boundary demarking the exclusive economic zone appertaining to each country.

Nicaragua first took the case before The Hague in 2001 in protest to the Colombian navy harassing Nicaraguan fishing boats in Caribbean waters claimed by both countries.

Colombia has used its claim to the Archipelago of San Andres to encroach on Nicaragua's maritime boundaries

Nicaragua argues that the 1928 Esguerra-Bárcenas treaty, which gave Colombia the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, does not establish maritime borders. Colombia, meanwhile, has used that treaty to encroach on Nicaraguan waters, establishing the 82nd meridian as the limit of Colombian waters—a move that nearly halves Nicaragua’s maritime territory.

The Sandinista government has claimed—since the 1980s—that the entire treaty is void because it was singed under U.S. pressure during a period of military intervention. Colombia, however, has used the treaty and the 82nd meridian limit to sign other international treaties, such as 1986 maritime boundary signed with Honduras that gave Colombia control over the Keys of Roncador, Quitasueno, Serrana and Serranilla.

Nicaragua argues its boundary should extend to the limit of its continental platform. Nicaragua is calling for an interpretation on the maritime boundary based upon equitable principles and the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. In a preliminary ruling in 2007, the World Court ruled that the Archipelago of San Andres, Povidencia and Santa Catalina (which were part of Nicaragua from 1838 to 1928) are Colombian territory. But The Court left the maritime border dispute unresolved.

If Nicaragua wins the case, it could nearly double its maritime territory in the Caribbean. The hearing will last through May and a ruling is expected before the end of the year.


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  • Harrington McNish

    ◦Harrington McNish April 28, 2012
    I have been wondering why Managua and Bogotá are fighting for something that does not belong to either of them.

    All the colombian government has mentioned so far is the trerritory, NOT THE PEOPLE, they have insisted in keeping us invisible, but we have news for them, WE ARE HERE, AND WE ARE HERE TO STAY!!

    I am also wondering if the Court knows that there is a PEOPLE living here and that we have the rights to be heard. The RAIZAL PEOPLE OF THESE ISLANDS DEMAND TO BE HEARD BY THE COURT. We will send our delegates, selected by us not the colombian government.

    We are in prision and so we are seeking our freedom.

  • francisco fernandez mclaughlin

    hola hermanos seria muy importante hacer una encuesta para ver con que recursos humanos contamos y como manejar nuestros recursos naturales ,hemos perdido la autonomia del manejo de nuestros fondos y con ello muchos de nuestros derecho