Nicaragua rejects being labeled a ‘criminal state’

(posted Oct. 17, 4:00 p.m.)– Today’s closing arguments before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ended with a bit a mud-slinging when Costa Rica accused Nicaragua of being a criminal nation and Nicaragua mocked Costa Rica for having a loser government.

“In my 30 years of experience working before the Court, my country has never been referred to in such undiplomatic terms as a repeat offender or a criminal state,” Nicaraguan Ambassador Carlos Argüello told the Court during his closing remarks.

Nicaraguan Ambassador Carlos Argüello

Argüello said that given Costa Rica’s nasty tone at The Hague, he felt obliged to point out that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is popular, while Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla is not.

“In recent years, the Government of Nicaragua has been classified among the 25% best governments and is fourth among 19 governments polled in Latin America. The government of Costa Rica ranks 19th out of 19 countries,” Argüello informed the Court.

Argüello concluded his remarks by asking the ICJ to ignore Costa Rica’s request for new provisional measures because they would only “increase animosity towards Nicaragua.”

In addition to calling for a complete halt to dredging in the disputed border zone and the full removal of all Nicaraguan personnel and infrastructure (including lodging tents and dredging equipment) from the area, Costa Rica is also asking the Court permission to “undertake remediation works in the disputed territory on the two new artificial channels and the surrounding areas to the extent necessary to prevent irreparable prejudice being caused to the disputed territory.”

In other words, Costa Rica is asking permission to backfill the two channels that Nicaragua cut in the disputed region–allegedly without authorization from the government. Argüello, however, argues that won’t be necessary because the “accidental” channels aren’t causing any serious damage to the environment. In any event, Argüello said, if the channels needed to be filled in, it could be done in a few days using nothing more than a few shovels.

The ICJ is done hearing from both parties and is now deliberating.

  • Brian

    Does this mean you’re back with us, Tim? I’m thrilled to discover a renewed heartbeat at the Dispatch … What’s up?