The President of the Central American Court of Justice, Ricardo Acevedo Peralta, has warned Colombia that it could face political and economic sanctions if it continues its refusal to recognize the November 2012 ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it cede territorial waters to Nicaragua.
“The rulings of [the ICJ] must be respected and Colombia still hasn’t done so,” said Peralta on Tuesday, the day after Nicaragua’s President, Daniel Ortega, called on his counterpart in Colombia, Juan Manual Santos, to form a bilateral commission to enforce the ICJ’s ruling that 30,000 square miles of Colombian maritime territory be given to Nicaragua.
“We propose [the creation of] a Colombian-Nicaraguan commission so that a treaty can be established that permits us both to respect and enforce the ruling of the ICJ about this issue,” said Ortega during a speech commemorating the 34th anniversary of the Nicaraguan army.
“We hope that we can arrive at an agreement about how to apply this ruling,” he added.
The Nicaraguan President proposed a similar commission in February to resolve the dispute over the island of San Andres, where indigenous fisherman were left unclear over which country they should approach for fishing permits.
Colombia’s President recently reached out to other Caribbean countries to try and halt the expansionist ambitions of Nicaragua. Local media reported that Santos had communicated directly with the governments of Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Jamaica in an attempt to rally support against Nicaragua.
The dispute first began in 2001 after Nicaragua took Colombia to the ICJ over a small grouping of islands in the Caribbean sea. As Colombians expected, the islands remained in their control, but the ICJ unexpectedly bestowed upon Nicaragua 7500 km squared of Caribbean waters – a decision poorly received in Bogota. Since then Nicaragua has repeatedly expanded its territorial waters.