Costa Rica Concerned by San Juan River Course Change from Nicaraguan Construction

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Costa Rica expressed concern before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that one of the canals built by Nicaragua in the territory of Isla Portillos will irreversibly change the course of the San Juan River, which forms the border between both countries.

    The ICJ has launched a new round of hearings to examine the possibility of issuing precautionary measures regarding Isla Portillos.

    Isla Portillos, also known as Isla Calero, is a long disputed bilateral area between the two countries.  This is the second time that Costa Rica has requested interim measures.

    Nicaragua, which has sovereignty over the San Juan River, maintains that provisional measures are unnecessary because the ordinates in March 2011 cover Costa Rica’s requests.

    In the hearing, Costa Rica introduced the possible morphological changes of the river, along with irreparable environmental damage caused by Nicaragua in the river area.

    Samuel Wordsworth, who represented Costa Rica, claimed one of the canals built by Nicaragua, the farthest east of the disputed area, “can change the course of the river in a way that can’t be returned to its original course” .

    The new dredge by Nicaragua in Isla Portillos is seen by Costa Rica as a violation of their sovereign rights.

    “As a country without an army, we have placed the defense of our rights in international law, so we have to come here to expose the threats we have, even if it takes longer,” Wadsworth told judges.

    Costa Rica claims that Nicaraguan river constructions can also cause environmental damage, such as increased risk of flooding, increased river erosion and the destruction of vegetation in the area.

    The hearing will continue through Thursday.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose Costa Rica

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