Nicaragua loses claim to islets, gains ocean

President Ortega expected to respond to ruling today at noon

(posted Nov. 19, 10:05 a.m.)- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague this morning ruled that an archipelago of seven disputed Caribbean islets—several of which are completely uninhabitable—belongs to Colombia, not Nicaragua.

The World Court, which in 2007 upheld Colombia’s original claim to the islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, today recognized Colombia’s additional claim to the islands of Albuquerque, Este Sudeste, Roncador, Serrana, Quitasueño, Serranilla y Bajo Sueño, according to a court resolution read by ICJ president Peter Tomka.

The new map

Nicaragua did, however, gain important maritime territory as the World Court redefined the maritime border, erasing Colombia’s longstanding claim to the 82nd meridian as the line of demarcation. The new maritime boundary recognizes Nicaragua’s right to 200 nautical miles off its 531-kilometer Caribbean coastline, minus a swath of ocean corresponding to the 65 kilometers of island territory corresponding to Colombia’s archipelago.

Nicaragua had argued that Colombia should only have claim to 3 nautical miles of sea surrounding the archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, but The Court granted Colombia 12 miles of maritime territory around each island, plus a 12 mile radius around the smaller Caribbean islets.

President Daniel Ortega is scheduled to address the issue today at noon. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to address the ruling this evening, according to Colombian press.