Colombia’s Vice President said on Thursday that a ruling by the International Court of Justice over a maritime territorial dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua as “unenforceable.”
In November of last year, The Hague ruled on a long standing maritime dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua. Although Colombia was granted sovereignty over several islands, Nicaragua were the beneficiaries of a shifting of boundary lines between the two countries, effectively doubling their economic zone in the Caribbean Sea.
“The judgement of the Court of The Hague is unenforceable in our country. It cannot apply now, in five years or ten years time,” emphasized Vice President Angelino Garzon.
“The judges in The Hague instead of helping to resolve the differences between Colombia and Nicaragua, have only exacerbated them,” added Garzon.
Nicaragua however, say that the ruling is already being implemented and that a decision by the Colombian government not to abide by it makes no sense.
“The judgement of the ICJ has been in effect since November 19 2012. What has happened is that Colombia has hired a number of law firms to analyse the resources in the territory,” said Mauricio Herdocia, the lawyer representing Nicaragua in this case.
“In the end all questions will be resolved by the ICJ, and according to the rules of the court, when a state is preparing an appeal the judgment must be respected,” added Herdocia.
Eric Tremolada, PhD in international law and international relations, explained to newspaper Elespectador that Colombia has already adhered to the ruling.
“Colombia publicly accepted the initial ruling of the court in 2007, and then again when Alvaro Uribe at the Santo Domingo summit, told the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that he would respect the ruling,” explained Tremolada.
“The words inapplicable and compliance are not appropriate terms for a declaratory judgement,” added Tremolada.
Former President Ernesto Samper believes that the Colombian government should accept the ruling, and thus negotiate with Nicaragua.
“I believe that Colombia must recognize the ruling and then use all of the resources at their disposal to clarify, apply and implement the obligations of the ruling, prior to initiating negotiations with Nicaragua.”