Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a world court order to grant Caribbean maritime territory to Nicaragua can only be applied through a bilateral treaty, local media reported on Monday.
Friday’s court ruling, the full details of which are still unknown, supports President Juan Manuel Santos’ position that the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) 2012 decision was not applicable to Colombia according to the country’s constitution, the international news agency Reuters reported.
In November 2012 the ICJ, which is based in the Netherlands, awarded 30,000 square miles of Colombian territorial waters to Nicaragua.
Maritime border according to ICJ ruling
In response to the ICJ’s verdict, Santos announced Colombia’s withdrawal from the Pact of Bogota that obliges Colombia to abide by international decisions and settle territorial disputes peacefully.
Although the court’s decision supports Santos, it will essentially force him to directly negotiate with the Central American country on the disputed sea border, La Vanguardia newspaper reported
Now less than 20 days from Colombia’s presidential elections, it is now up to the incumbent president who is seeking reelection — or his replacement — to decide on the possibility of a treaty with Nicaragua to settle the decade-long dispute.
According to Vanguardia, if negotiations do not begin the legal confusion regarding the dispute will continue and eventually force an international decision. The Colombian government, however, will have to wait for the fully detailed ruling to know if the president is given a deadline on the issue.
Santos commented on Friday that he would wait for the fully detailed verdict of the court before deciding what the next step would be, Reuters reported.
“The issue now is that when we go to negotiate with Nicaragua decision of ICJ will be used as a base. That is to say, if we had taken this route 15 years ago we could have lost less territory,” Miguel Silva Moyano, professor of political science at Pontificia Bolivariana University told Vanguardia.