The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) returned today to take interim measures in the territorial conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua which they ordered a stop to the dredging of two channels in the bed of the San Juan border river and removal of any staff in the area.
“The conditions for applying new interim measures are met,” said Peter Tomka, Chief Justice, who noted that the judges made the decision unanimously.
Last September, the Costa Rican government requested new precautionary ICJ measures and reported that Nicaragua had opened at least two new pipes (channels) to join the San Juan River, Nicaragua’s sovereignty, to the Caribbean Sea through Portillos Island or Isla Calero , which both countries claim sovereignty.
San Jose also reported that Nicaragua maintained a military presence in the Managua area.
For its part, the Government of Nicaragua has denied the opening of the two new pipes and says that it may be a result of heavy rains in the area.
In its decision today, the ICJ agreed unanimously to reaffirm the provisional measures imposed since March 8, 2011 on this conflict, which forbade both countries to send government staff to the 250 acres of wetland.
On the other hand, they decided to impose new precautionary measures in which Nicaragua should stop any dredging work or other activities in the disputed territory, and in particular, stop all work on the two new pipes.
In addition, Nicaragua must fill the trench on the north beach of the eastern pipe in two weeks from today and report to the Court on compliance with this requirement within one week of completion, with details and “photographic evidence”.
Nicaragua also has to remove the disputed territory of all staff, whether civilian, police or security, and prevent access to the territory.
Tomka also noted that, by 15 votes to one, the judges agreed that Costa Rica and Nicaragua shall take appropriate measures in the two pipes to prevent irreparable harm to the environment and to undertake them to avoid any adverse effects on the San Juan River.
The judges unanimously agreed that the parties shall inform the Court every three months on the implementation of the provisional measures.
At hearings held in October, Costa Rica expressed concern that one of the canals built by Nicaragua would irreversibly change the course of the Río San Juan, which forms the border between the two countries.
After adopting a resolution on this case, the ICJ still has to rule on other matters facing Costa Rica and Nicaragua: The precautionary measures requested by Managua to San José to refrain from continuing to build a road that supposedly sheds sediment in the river San Juan.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica