Posted by Caitlin Trent on Nov 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Colombia denounces Pact of Bogota: President Santos

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In response to the ICJ’s verdict granting maritime rights to Nicaragua, President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday announced Colombia’s withdrawal from the Pact of Bogota that obliges Colombia to abide by UN decisions and settle territorial disputes peacefully.

Colombia’s official renouncement of the 1948 Pact of Bogota, also known as the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, was in protest of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) November 19 territorial ruling that granted Nicaragua maritime rights to previously Colombian waters.

“I have decided that the highest national interests require that territorial and maritime boundaries be established through treaties, as it has been the legal tradition in Colombia, and not by judgments handed down by the International Commission of Justice,” Santos stated.

Although Colombia claims that it will respect the ICJ’s decision, which upheld Colombia’s territorial rights to the San Andres archipelago but granted Nicaragua maritime jurisdiction, Santos announced via Twitter that “limits should be set by the States themselves not by a court.”

President Santos continued to defend Colombia’s decision via Twitter, claiming that “This essential principle is shared by countries that have taken the same position that Colombia now takes…With the denouncement of the Pact of Bogota, Colombia does not pretend to be separated from the mechanisms for peaceful settlement of disputes.”

According to Semana weekly, pulling out of the pact also “block[s] new demands from Nicaragua in a time when it may become emboldened and claim more territory as some believe it will.”

Withdrawal from the Pact of Bogota is yet another diplomacy move among several in Colombia’s fight against the Hague’s decision which Santos claimed to be a “serious judgement error.”

While Colombia continues to protest the ruling on maritime rights, Colombia’s Supreme Court has stated that the country must adhere to the ICJ’s ruling.

The Pact of Bogota was signed by North, Central and South American nations in 1948.