Monday, December 3rd 2012 - 22:23 UTC

Peru makes its case before the International Court; Chile: no surprises

Peru asked the International Court of Justice Monday to set a maritime border with Chile in a case that could greatly expand the amount of rich seas under Peruvian control off the two Pacific neighbours’ coasts.

‘‘A flagrant lack of any maritime delimitation’’ between the two countries alleged the Peruvian delegate at the Court in The Hague

Actual border vrs Peruvian claim

The Peruvian delegation argued that a maritime boundary was never established and that two agreements which Chile claims set the border are non-binding and merely denoted some fishing zones. Chile insists the border was clearly set in treaties signed in 1952 and 1954.

Chile and Peru are among the world’s top producers of fishmeal, and the waters off their coasts are an important source of income for both countries. If Peru wins, it could gain control over more than 38.000 square kilometres of ocean that Chile has controlled for the last 60 years.

Peru was presenting its arguments Monday and Tuesday. Chile will respond Thursday and Friday.

The Peruvian government’s lawyer, Alain Pellet, told the court there is ‘‘a flagrant lack of any maritime delimitation’’ between the two countries and that Chile’s proposed border ‘‘radically cuts off Peru’s access to the high seas’’.

Pellet said Peru wants the 16-judge court to draw a line that will equally divide the sea off the two countries’ coasts based on established international law. ‘‘Peru asks neither more nor less than the laws of the sea grant to all coastal states,’’ he said.

Peru and Bolivia waged a joint war against Chile from 1879-1884 and lost badly, with Chile seizing a chunk of southern Peru as well as Bolivia’s entire coastline. Chile has long held that all border questions were resolved by several 20th century treaties.

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera last week said the long-awaited case in The Hague boils down to defending ‘‘a cause that belongs to us all, such as defence of our oceans ... and our sovereignty.’’

Chilean representative Maria Teresa Infante Caffi told reporters outside the courtroom that her country’s standpoint was not changed by Peru’s arguments.

‘‘The central point for Chile is the existence and validity of the limits that were established through bilateral agreements between the two countries,’’ she said.

But Peru’s foreign minister, Rafael Roncagliolo, disagreed.

‘‘No maritime boundary agreement exists between Peru and Chile and that was the heart of the presentations we made,’’ he told reporters.

Roncagliolo stressed that in the 1980s ‘‘Peru sought a negotiated solution and then formally sought a discussion with Chile again in 2004 but ‘‘in the face of the impossibility of reaching a negotiated outcome we have turned to the court as a civilized and peaceful option.’’

Chilean Foreign minister Alfredo Moreno praised the tone and manner in which the Peruvian delegates made their presentation despite the deep differences on the issue.

“I would like to underline the tone and manner in which this firs phase of the presentations has evolved despite the deep differences of both countries on the issue. This is the way which corresponds to a discussion between countries that share a future of peace, progress and integration”, said Moreno. He added there were no surprises in Peru’s arguments.

Over the weekend Chile and Peru's leaders urged their citizens to keep calm and avoid “exacerbated nationalism” ahead of Monday's international hearing.
Chile's President Sebastian Piñera spoke out against “exacerbated nationalism, which poisons the soul of the people,” in a column published Sunday in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

“This dispute granted Chile and Peru an opportunity to renew our relationship and embrace together with conviction and courage the future agenda, which should be of friendship, cooperation, progress and peace,” he said.


20 comments Feed

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1 Britworker (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 10:36 pm Report abuse
Lol, one big united and happy family, or so we are led to believe.
2 HansNiesund (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 10:42 pm Report abuse
“Chile's President Sebastian Piñera spoke out against “exacerbated nationalism, which poisons the soul of the people”.

Nice turn of phrase. But a shame he didn't come out with it at Unasur.
3 Pete Bog (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 10:43 pm Report abuse
The Falklands are not the only piece of land claimed by South Americans, who clasim to be buddies one minute-the next they're scrapping.

Still though I hope Chile will prevail, at least Peru had the guts to take this to international court whereas Argentina haven't got the bottle to.
4 Ernie4001 (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 10:44 pm Report abuse
This artificial dispute was slowly built by Peru in order to fight low popularity goverments through the years, so mostly is based in political and histrionic arguments. And complies with the wish of every peruvian to revenge on Chile, since they´re taught to hate Chile even before learn to read, also is a sample of their hipocrecy and abuse since Chile has helped many peruvian programs, invested 12000 us milions and letting near 100.000 peruvian inmigrants. (many of them crooks).
5 Frank (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 11:23 pm Report abuse
Looking at that map the Peruvian claim would seem to have some merit.

They are, however, friends of the RGs so Fuck Em.
6 redpoll (#) Dec 03rd, 2012 - 11:33 pm Report abuse
It would be interesting to see what the Bolivian govt has to say about thier lost coastline which they reclaim to this day. Dont they have rights too?
7 Condorito (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 12:00 am Report abuse
1 Brit
When do we ever pretend to be a united happy family?
The continent is acting in greater political unison than ever before, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t major disputes. However, our relations with Peru are very good right now. We are demining the border and resolving this dispute at the ICJ. Chile has agreed to accept the results. There is no dispute over land, it is just the formula used to project the maritime border.

2 Hans
“But a shame he didn't come out with it at Unasur.”
Very true, but it would be unnecessary. We all know the Falklands are not going anywhere.

5 Frank
It has some merit, based on the formula currently used, but the border was agreed to earlier by Peru, so that should prevail. I hope we are not in for a surprise ruling like Colombia. A lot of my compatriots would react very badly.

6 redpoll
They would say what they have been saying for 130 years...its ours blab la bla. They signed a treaty in 1904 recognising the current border so they have no case at the ICJ.
8 KFC de Pollo (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 01:46 am Report abuse
They should create an area untouched by either. It would benefit fish stocks for centuries to come for both Peru and Chile!
9 Britworker (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 07:54 am Report abuse
Yes, these Unasur meetings are platforms for Argentina to hijack. Clearly there are many other serious issues that need to be discussed but it seems they are all happy to pretend that the UK is their one joint nemesis and portray an image of unity, which evidently far from the truth.
10 Condorito (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 01:38 pm Report abuse
“to pretend that the UK is their one joint nemesis”
That is totally incorrect. The UK is no one’s nemesis, either real or imagined. Quite the contrary, most countries in South America have very good relations with the UK. I think your frustration at Argentina distorts your impression of the whole region. Try looking at it from our perspective, rather than through the prism of the FI and you would realize that.
11 Conqueror (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 03:58 pm Report abuse
@10 Tell us, then, why all your governments stand up and support argieland? WE all know that Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands is indisputable. And therefore the Falkland Islanders' claim to their land is indisputable. we can also understand, to some extent, nutjobs Kirchner and Chavez. They need “a cause”. I can sort of understand Mujica. He's a demented, frightened, senile old man. What about the rest?
12 Condorito (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 05:22 pm Report abuse
I have explained this point before, but here we go again. It is called putting national interests first. We do, it you do it, they do it.

The FIs are Argentina’s single most important foreign policy issue. We would be very foolish to antagonise one of our most important trading partners over what is essentially a non issue. We would lose a lot and gain nothing.

It is a non issue internally because the Chilean public has many other priorities (think, how important is the well fare of the villagers in Chungungo to the UK populace?). It is a non issue externally because the FI status quo is not going to change so our bluff is unlikely to be called.

If I may pre-empt your “it’s about what is morally right” reply, no it is not.

Countries seldom let what is morally right override self interest unless there is a very strong moral obligation to act, which there isn’t in this case and if there were, our position might change.
13 redpoll (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 07:41 pm Report abuse
Nice post condorito
14 cornishair (#) Dec 04th, 2012 - 07:47 pm Report abuse
I agree with redpoll, good post Condorito. National intrests alway over rule moral rights. Plus we all know Argentina will never get its hands on the falklands :p
15 redpoll (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 12:42 am Report abuse
Condorito To “meter el dedo en la llaga” when is Chile going to return the battleship Huascar to Peru??? I await your explosion!
16 Condorito (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
I think the Argies have a better chance of getting their boat back.

I don't feel we have any obligation to return the Huascar. They lost it in a war that they were foolish enough to get involved in. Our fight was with Bolivia. If Peru had stayed out, the war would have lasted about a week and Peru would still have Iquique and Arica. Actions have consequences and if the Huascar reminds the Peruvians of that, then that is a good thing.
17 redpoll (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 04:01 pm Report abuse
I agree condorito. Huascar is a ntional treasure being well looked after by the Chilean Navy and should be declared a site on the UN heritage site
Intersting the different ideas of how to conduct a war. The letters between Captain Grau and Arturo Prats widow, although written in very flowery Spanish reflect a different age when such matters were not just a political spin
18 Condorito (#) Dec 05th, 2012 - 10:51 pm Report abuse
Grau was the “Gentleman of the Seas” and the outstanding commander of the sea campaign. His conduct was from another age, but it was far from typical of other incidents in the war. For example, when the Chilean army took Arica, the men went berserk in the true sense of the word. Their officers couldn’t stop them from butchering the Peruvian defenders. In the heat of the battle, they ignored orders and stormed the Morro de Arica with such speed and ferocity that the Peruvians were unable to detonate the mines they had rigged up to both kill themselves and inflict as much damage on their victors as possible. All was totally avoidable as before the assault began, the Chileans offered terms to the Peruvians, who rejected them and chose to fight to the last man, which they just about did.

So much animosity that we have with Peru could have been avoided if they had thought things through better. For a start they should have stayed out of the war. Secondly after the fall of Arica, Chile sued for peace and Peru refused, forcing Chile to go on and take Lima. After losing Lima they still didn’t surrender and the Chilean army had to pursue the Peruvian army way up north to finally annihilate it. All the atrocities of the war were committed after the conclusion was inevitable and Chile was willing to accept a Peruvian surrender. And here we are today with the consequences.
19 redpoll (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 12:52 am Report abuse
Thanks condorito.
I have only studied the naval warfare,not the land campaigns. War in any of its forms is atrocious and reduces normally sane men to beasts I agree. But sometimes there is no alternative as was such against the meglomaniac Hitler. Then you have to stand up and be counted or fall under the jackboot of a nasty dictatorship
An army is steamed up by its commanders words willing them on to victory and once the soldiers have seen so many of thier mates killed in assualt of a town they run wild on pent up adrenalin and the town is sacked. Even that strong disciplinarian Wellington,with his “bloody provost” couldnt stop the anarchy and atrocities after the storming of Badajoz. Unfortunately its the dark side of human nature which is always there just below the surface
20 Condorito (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 12:54 pm Report abuse
Yes, very true. Sometimes there is just no alternative.

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