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Nicaragua ask World Court to order Colombia to respect 2012 ruling on sea borders

This content was published on September 20, 2021 - 16:27

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Nicaragua on Monday accused Colombia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of not respecting a 2012 ruling on their maritime boundaries in the western Caribbean by that same court.

The hearing centres around a 2012 ruling by the ICJ, also known as the World Court, which drew a demarcation line in favor of Nicaragua in Caribbean waters, reducing the expanse of sea belonging to Colombia.

Nicaragua accused Colombia of cherry picking saying they do accept the court's ruling that a cluster of small islands was Colombian but not the demarcation of maritime boundaries in the same judgment.

The new sea borders increased Nicaragua’s continental shelf and economic exclusion zone in the Caribbean, giving it access to underwater oil and gas deposits, as well as fishing rights in those waters.

Colombia immediately renounced the new demarcation, and argues a separate treaty is needed for new maritime borders between the two countries.

"Any supposed need for another treaty to implement the judgment is simply an excuse for not complying" with the 2012 ruling, Nicaragua's agent before the court ambassador Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez said.

Nicaragua has asked the court to rule that Colombia has not respected its 2012 ruling and must give assurances that they will not do the same again.

In a statement outside of the court before the case started, a lawyer on Colombia's team said the case should focus on the rights of both countries in the Caribbean.

"What will probably happen is that we will hear a series of exaggerated affirmations through which Nicaragua will try to transform this case into a case of non-compliance with the 2012 ruling, in order to diminish the importance of the discussion about the rights of both countries," Manuel Jose Cepeda said

Colombia will present its side of the case on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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