Nicaragua-Colombia maritime dispute to be settled Nov. 19

A ruling in Nicaragua's favor would nearly double the country's maritime territory

(posted Nov. 8, 11:50 a.m.)- A decade-long international court battle between Nicaragua and Colombia is finally in its drum-roll finish.

San Andres (photo/ Brad Allgood)

The International Court of Justice at The Hague has announced that on Nov. 19 it will hand down its final verdict on the ownership of the maritime territory surrounding the Caribbean archipelago of San Andres.

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.

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.

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. Nicaragua argues its boundary should extend to the limit of its continental platform

If Nicaragua wins the case, it would nearly double the country’s maritime territory in the Caribbean.