The Hague has spoken, but does anybody really care?

mapa-calero-portillos

OK Kids, there has been a ruling. Lovely, I say. Charming. An academic opinion on a real life drama in the Third World. The news comes just as all of Costa Rica goes on vacation until the second week in February 2016, or until their credit cards are maxed out. No one really cares that the Fed has raised the prime lending rate, but that’s another story.

Below is a google translation of the chain of events that has lead to a border dispute down here in Jurassic Park.

Here is a link to the original story:
Nicaragua-Costa Rica: Chronology of the conflict
DECEMBER 16, 2015 8:50 A.M. | AGENCY / EDITOR

(AFP) .- On December 16, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in two of three cases facing Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

On Wednesday the judges of this court handed down its decision in the national complaint by the military invasion of Isla Portillos and moreover, the complaint that led Nicaraguans in 2011 for alleged environmental damage in the margins of the San Juan River , led by Costa Rica during road construction 1856, better known as the “trail”.

READ ICJ confirmed that Portillos island is Costa Rica

The International Court of Justice ruled that Calero Island belongs to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to Costa Rica shall indemnify for environmental damages due to a violation of the sovereignty of Costa Rica.

This is how there have been deliberate the facts in court:

2010
-October 18. Nicaragua began dredging the San Juan River in order to facilitate navigation.

-October 22. Costa Rica claims that Nicaragua launches river sediments Portillo island, causing environmental damage to the wetland site.

-October 22. Costa Rica protest to Nicaragua for alleged invasion of his island territory of Portillo and deploys 150 policemen with weapons in the area. Nicaragua denies its army to raid neighboring country.

-16 November. Costa Rica denounced Nicaragua to the Rasmar Convention for the protection of wetlands for alleged damage to island Portillo.

-November 18th. Costa Rica to Nicaragua demand to the ICJ for alleged Nicaraguan army raid on its territory.

2011
January -4. Rasmar Convention presents report confirming damage to wetlands island Portillo. Nicaragua rejects the report, arguing that only considered the Costa Rican version.

January -11. The ICJ begins three days of hearings in which Costa Rica requested an injunction against Nicaragua.

-March 8. The ICJ ordered to Costa Rica and Nicaragua not send or station troops in the disputed area.

-November 25. Nicaragua accuses Costa Rica of a “crime against nature” with the construction of a parallel road to the San Juan river. Announces that it will take the case to the ICJ.

-23 December: Costa Rica Nicaragua demand to the ICJ for alleged environmental damage to the construction of the border road.

2012
-30th of October. Costa Rica protest to Nicaragua by the entry of a group of young Sandinistas to the disputed area.

2013
-April 23rd. The ICJ decides to proceed together the two border disputes.

-24 September. Costa Rica calls for new precautionary measures against Nicaragua to denounce the opening of pipes in the disputed area. The ICJ welcomes the request on 22 November and orders Nicaragua refrain from any dredging activity in the two open channels.

-November 8th. Nicaragua requested an injunction against Costa Rica for the alleged contamination of the San Juan River with the construction of the road. The Court rejects the request on 13 December.

2015
-April 14th. The ICJ opens two weeks of hearings to Costa Rica and Nicaragua present their final arguments in the two disputes.

-4 December. The ICJ announced that it will release its ruling on the dispute on 16 December.

-16 December. The ICJ issued the ruling that gives reason to Costa Rica.

Click to see more news on: International Court Of Justice , Calero Island , Isla Portillos , The Hague , National .

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One Response to The Hague has spoken, but does anybody really care?

  1. DC says:

    And here is a local commentary from the fine folks at AM Costa Rica

    An A.M. Costa Rica analysis
    Calero decision was far from a complete victory
    By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

    Most Costa Ricans were thrilled that the International Court of Justice reaffirmed the country’s sovereignty over the Isla Calero.

    The authoritative Spanish-language daily newspaper La Nación headlined Victory even as the full decision was being read in The Hague, Netherlands. A similar headline showed up on an editorial later in the day Wednesday.
    Wednesday morning’s
    story on decision
    HERE!
    However, a close reading of the 229-section decision shows that Costa Rica only won what was obvious. Nicaragua did invade Costa Rican territory in 2010, and the nation’s leadership did so with full knowledge that the land involved was Costa Rica.

    Dredger-in-chief Edén Pastora, the former Contra leader, even was caught on the radio affirming that the land was Costa Rica. As a Costa Rican lawyer said in a letter to the editor in 2011:

    “The treaties of 1858, the Cleveland treaty, the Alexander treaty, maps published by both countries clearly define the borders of both countries. It also has been of public knowledge that the island of Calero belongs to Costa Rica. There is no space for interpretation or opinion about what belongs to Costa Rica and where the limits are located.”

    What the 15 World Court justices failed to do was assess any punishment on Nicaragua for the military invasion. The court did order reparations for unspecified material damages, but that means the value of trees cut and the expenses in filling in the canals the Nicaraguan workers dug.
    What was not assessed were any other kind of costs including the very expensive legal efforts by Costa Rica, and perhaps the cost of mustering hundreds of heavily armed police officers to the border and keeping them there.

    The court said that the two countries should spend a year negotiating the damages. Only then and with a new proceeding will the court step in.

    The court said that Nicaragua was likely to act in good faith in the future. Yet from the decision it is clear that Nicaragua’s lawyers told some tall tales during the four-year litigation process.

    For example, Nicaragua’s lawyers argued that the canal that workers dug across Costa Rican land was really a former mouth of the Río San Juan. The court rejected that claim because there were large trees in the path of the canal and no indication of previous sediment.

    The purpose of the canal was to change the mouth of the river to cut off Costa Rican land and make it Nicaraguan. The south bank of the river is the national border. This was a bold land grab.

    The court did find that Costa Ricans have rights of navigation on the Río San Juan, but it also did not void a 2009 Nicaraguan decree that is being used to assess fees on tourists.

    Costa Rican officials seem prepared to celebrate the decision and seek renewed relations with Daniel Ortega’s government. And maybe this was the point of the court’s seemingly wishy-washy decision.

    Even La Nación said in its editorial Wednesday that on the border Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans live, trade and establish familial ties together. There is ample space for fruitful cooperation between the two nations, it added.

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