Colombia begins presenting its case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Thursday to retain sovereignty over the San Andres Islands.
The Colombian delegation will address the ICJ at the Hague at 3PM in the first round of oral presentations in the maritime boarder dispute with Nicaragua.
The hearing began Monday with submissions from Nicaragua, which is claiming jurisdiction over the San Andres Islands and surrounding archipelago in the western Caribbean.
The territory spans 20,000 square miles and lies 93 miles from the Nicaraguan coast and 373 miles from Colombia’s coastline.
Colombia claims it has ruled the maritime area peacefully for 80 years under jurisdiction awarded by a 1928 treaty between the two nations.
“The absurd claim of Nicaragua over the San Andres Archipelago and the alleged invalidity of the 1928 Treaty is nothing but another step in Nicaragua’s traditional policy of ignoring treaties and arbitration awards with their neighbors,” claimed former foreign minister and Colombian delegate to the ICJ Julio Londoño Paredes ahead the proceedings, El Pais reported.
But Colombia’s current foreign minister warned that the case could bring changes to Colombia’s borders.
“I can not say one hundred percent that everything will remain the same. No, because we’re finally in a proceeding before the court, and it is going to make some decisions,” said Maria Angela Holguin, according to El Pais.
Colombia’s oral arguments continue Friday. Nicaragua will be given Monday to rebut and conclude its case, with Colombia’s final arguments ending the hearing on May 4.
Nicaragua filed a claim over the San Andres Islands to the ICJ in 2001. The court decided in 2007 to accept the case and rule on the maritime boarder.