(CNN Spanish) – The International Court of Justice ruled on Thursday against Nicaragua, which claims to extend its continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles that define its maritime border with Colombia.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro welcomed the ruling. “A great victory for Colombia in The Hague. The International Court of Justice did not agree to Nicaragua’s claims to extend its continental shelf. With this ruling, we hope to close the border dispute and focus on achieving sustainable development for our archipelago,” he wrote on his Twitter account. Twitter.
A big victory for Colombia in The Hague. The International Court of Justice has not accepted Nicaragua’s claims to extend its continental shelf. With this ruling, we hope to end the border dispute and focus on achieving sustainable development for our archipelago.
– Gustavo Petro (@petrogustav) July 13, 2023
“Without a doubt, today is a day of tremendous celebration for Colombia,” said Eduardo Valencia Ospina, the international lawyer and lead attorney in the case, in a video posted by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his Twitter account. Instagram.
This is the largest international judicial victory for our country in recent decades. It’s a great fact, complete victories are rare on the field,” added Valencia Ospina.
History of the Naval Discord
This dispute is about the sovereignty of the archipelagoes of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, which is now Colombian territory, but is claimed by Nicaragua.
The archipelago is located 800 km from the northwest coast of Colombia and 240 km from the coast of Nicaragua. In addition to sovereignty over these and several islands, the dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua involves an area of 50,000 km of fishing waters, according to the court.
The disputed marine area is rich and extensive for fishing, as well as for the exploration and potential exploitation of oil and other hydrocarbons.
After a years-long legal dispute that began at the beginning of the twentieth century, the International Court of Justice declared in 2007 Colombia’s sovereignty over the islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina located in the Caribbean Sea. But it did not specify at that time what the maritime borders between the two countries would be.
The process dragged on and in 2012 The Hague awarded Nicaragua 80,000 km in the Caribbean Sea, after which Colombia said it would not recognize this ruling.
Nicaragua then asked the court to intervene to force Colombia to comply with the 2012 ruling, as well as to extend the continental shelf by more than 200 nautical miles.
Nicaragua asked the court to define the “single maritime boundary” between the areas of the continental shelf and the corresponding exclusive economic zones of Nicaragua and Colombia, respectively, in the form of a median line between the two countries’ continental coasts,” the court said in its 2012 ruling.
In this way, the Court granted Nicaragua a new line demarcation in the platform by which it granted a 200-nautical-mile sea platform to the Central American country.
Given the ruling, then-President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos replied that his government does not accept the ruling because it considers that the court made “serious mistakes” when drawing up a new maritime demarcation between that country and Nicaragua.
The Colombian president announced that The Hague recognized Colombia’s sovereignty over the entire archipelago but later separated the keys of the Serrana, Serranilla, Coitasueño and Pago Nuevo from the rest.
In April 2022, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the main judicial body of the United Nations, ruled that Colombia had “violated the sovereign rights and jurisdiction” of Nicaragua in its exclusive economic zone.
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