Monday, September 16th 2013 - 01:26 UTC

Colombia/Nicaragua maritime dispute reignites, despite International Court ruling

President Juan Manuel Santos presented before Colombia’s constitutional court a demand against the Pact of Bogotá arguing that a recent ruling from the International Court of Justice on a maritime dispute with Nicaragua does not comply with the Colombian constitution.

President Santos argues the ICJ ruling is inapplicable because it does not comply with the Colombian constitution

The disputed area could be rich in hydrocarbons

“There are two articles in the treaty (Pact of Bogotá) which clearly violate our Constitution since they say that the country must automatically change limits, borders by the sole virtue of some ICJ ruling”, pointed out Santos in his presentation.

The Pact of Bogotá dates back to 1948 and recognizes ICJ jurisdiction and was finally approved by Colombia in 1962, under Law 37. But the Colombian government has launched a strategy questioning the pact following an ICJ November 2012 ruling in which the maritime limits between Colombia and Nicaragua were redefined.

Last November a few days after the ICJ ruling the Colombian government got in touch with the Organization of American States Secretary General, OAS Jose Miguel Insulza and communicated that Colombia was withdrawing from the Pact of Bogotá and thus ceased to recognize the ICJ jurisdiction.

To this must the added the latest request to declare the pact unconstitutional, presented before the high court.

Santos pointed out that the Colombia constitution clearly orders that any “modification of our limits, our borders must be done according to a specific procedure: a treaty that must be approved by Congress”.

In other words this means that “we can’t accept any change in our limits, our borders automatically no matter the ruling” added Santos who made the presentation before the constitutional court next to Foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin and Justice minister Alfonso Gomez Mendez.

The decision to protest the alleged unconstitutionality of the Bogotá Pact is part on an ‘integral strategy’ announced last week by Santos in reply to the ICJ ruling which grated Nicaragua economic rights over 75.000 square kilometres in the Caribbean.

Santos argued that the ICJ was ‘inapplicable’ if before there is not a treaty ensuring the rights of Colombians in the region “because the maritime limits of Colombia can’t be modified automatically by an ICJ ruling”.

“Colombians are still outraged by the ruling of The Hague’s International Court of Justice, which pretends to give Nicaragua a significant portion of our historic and economic rights in the Caribbean” Santos said last week and announced that “we will subscribe a letter of protest along with other neighboring nations (Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Panama) that I will personally deliver to the United Nations’ Secretary General”.

“We condemn and will expose Nicaragua expansionism in the Caribbean”. Apparently Nicaragua is preparing to grant oil exploration licences in the disputed waters.

Foreign minister Holguín said that “at no time are we disregarding the jurisdiction of the court at The Hague; we’re not disregarding the ruling either. We’re saying that our constitution does not permit its applicability.”

“We want to talk with Nicaragua about a treaty,” Holguín said. “We want to know what (President) Daniel Ortega thinks about this.”

President Ortega has stated he wants Colombia to abide by the International Court’s ruling and that the government’s stance is nothing less than offensive.

“The court’s decisions are obligatory,” Ortega said. “They are not subject to discussion. It’s disrespectful to the court. It is as if we decided not to abide by the ruling because we didn’t receive 100% of what we asked, which in this case was the San Andrés archipelago”.

“Nicaragua wants peace,” Ortega said. “We have no expansionist aims…we only want what the court at The Hague granted us in its ruling”.


33 comments Feed

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1 Lord Ton (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 03:39 am Report abuse
Another banana Republic refusing to accept a decision of the international court just because they lost their case.

Can any South American country be trusted ??
2 Britworker (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 03:40 am Report abuse
Doesn't sound like the happy south american family we keep getting shoved down our throats on here.
3 Monkeymagic (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 04:02 am Report abuse
“our constitution doesn't allow it's applicability”

Err....change your constitution then dumbass
4 golfcronie (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:00 am Report abuse
Do you think Argentina is going to change the constitution with reference to the FALKLANDS???
5 Idlehands (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:11 am Report abuse
Foreign minister Holguín said that “at no time are we disregarding the jurisdiction of the court at The Hague; we’re not disregarding the ruling either. We’re saying that our constitution does not permit its applicability.” Latin American doublespeak for “we lost the case so we'll ignore it”
6 Monkeymagic (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:30 am Report abuse

Of course not. Argentina will never give up its claim unless it suffered a military defeat so enormous it sent it back to the stone Age. This defeat will never come.

The claim is ludicrous, you know it, I know it, CFK and Tinhead know it, the only people who don't know it are the brain dead Malvinistas who love the rhetoric and don't realise its a smokescreen.

The Falklands will be what the islanders want them to be for the foreseeable future, probably much longer than Argentina remains intact.
7 Steve-33-uk (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:34 am Report abuse
And I thought Columbia was one of the few respectable / trustworthy Latin American countries!

One interesting point of note, from another article...
'A sea of troubles ~ ...the ruling leaves two (uninhabited) islets cut off from the rest of the archipelago by a tongue of newly Nicaraguan sea...'

more about the maritime boundaries...
8 Conqueror (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 08:02 am Report abuse
But, all UN members are automatically parties to the ICJ's statute. And, in the case of a contentious issue, the state parties have to agree to comply with the Court's binding judgement. Colombia's constitution is, as far as this matter is concerned, irrelevant. Colombia will have to take its case to the Security Council. Probably need to do this quite soon, before Nicaragua does.
9 Gonzo22 (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 08:41 am Report abuse
Yesterday, PA members were the best countries in Latin America, today all of them are banana republics. I can only haha to that. No more Mercopress fairy tales.
10 golfcronie (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 08:57 am Report abuse
Has not Argentina claimed them????
Don't tell Crissie
11 Conqueror (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 11:33 am Report abuse
@9 Tosspot!
12 GFace (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 12:33 pm Report abuse
@10 I thought the UNSC's job was NOT to adjudicated disputes -- and would send them to the same people who just made up their minds about it.

'“at no time are we disregarding the jurisdiction of the court at The Hague; we’re not disregarding the ruling either. We’re saying that our constitution does not permit its applicability.”'

In the more general sense, you can make a reasonable argument that even if the ICJ rules a given way and both sides accept the ruling, enacting that ruling may require a treaty between the parties (as delineated by the *binding* ICJ decision) and then have the treaty ratified to meet a country's constitutional muster since it IS a transaction between the two states and any local interests -- and that's how grownups do things... But I have the strangest feeling that they aren't wanting to meet with Nicaragua to write the ICJ's judgement in “treaty format” so the ICJ's ruling will then become “applicable.” Otherwise Ortega and Santos would already be following this particular dance.
13 Stevie (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 12:35 pm Report abuse
I hope our Colombian and Nicaraguan brothers and sisters finds a solution that suits them both. If not, Colombia will have to follow the ruling and try their case in another instance.

14 ChrisR (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 12:53 pm Report abuse
@ 13 Stevie

Oh, come on Stevie!

NOBODY on here other than you thinks of other sovereign states as their brothers and sisters and this article demonstrates that fact.

I bet they don't think much of social inclusion either by the look of it.

Santos LOST and doesn't like it. Santos has already attempted to throw his toys out of the pram and clearly thinks he can withdraw from the ICJ without leaving the UN. You don’t think he is a closet argie like Pepe do you? He is doing exactly what the snake oil saleswoman of The Dark Country does when she doesn’t like something, like the argies and the Beagle channel incident for example.
15 golfcronie (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 01:21 pm Report abuse
You are so nieve, this demonstrates why Argy will not take the FALKLANDS case to the ICJ because she knows she will not win. Imagine having to take all the school books away and rewrite them LOL. Latams do not like admitting that they are in the wrong. Losing face is a no no
16 GFace (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 02:09 pm Report abuse
@13 You can't “Magistrate Shop” with the ICJ (and the secret to doing THAT is to shop BEFORE the trail), or otherwise “retry” the case in another venue nor can they “appeal” to a higher court since they are “it.” Columbia needs to find a face saving solution that complies with the ruling before Nicaragua gets more impatient than it already is. THAT means either getting Nicaragua to vacate their claim AND their winning ruling (which they aren't willing to do and indeed are insisting on compliance), or for them to enact the ruling in a constituently legal fashion, and that seems to involve Nicaraguan participation and since Columbia is not keen on complying, Nicaragua isn't going to play along with a farce. If Columbia was willing to comply but needed a “treaty” then I'm sure Nicaragua would gladly have one last rigidly choreographed dance with a known outcome (that handed down by the court or an alternative swap with an irresistible carrot), a handshake and a photo-op (and what true political hack doesn't like THAT?) and then all would be resolved as you wish.
17 jakesnake (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 02:42 pm Report abuse
Como estas comrade? Where are you from and where do you live? To think that Latin America is so harmonious that everybody refers to each as “brothers and sisters” is laughable at best. It's probably one of the throwback dreams to the days of Che and Fidel. Long live the revolution. Isn't that what you guys say at your little commie meetings?
18 Briton (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 02:57 pm Report abuse
Changing the subject slightly,

Perhaps if oil and minerals were given rights to self determination,
And had a right not to be removed from where they come,

Would this not solve at a stroke all this greed and corruption,

Silly I know,
But it does prove does it not that Colombia/Nicaragua,
Like Argentina, has no interest in the lives of the people what so ever,

It’s just the wealth that is under the water,
Greed and corruption, and sod the people,
Does that sound about right…..
As an afterthought, would not the wealth really belong to the inhabitants who live on these islands. ??
19 Stevie (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 03:07 pm Report abuse

Bit touchy, aren't we? All this fuzz for me calling two brother nations for brother nations? ;)

And Chris, yes Santos is a slimy bastid, but not our lovely Colombian siblings...

20 Elena (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 04:53 pm Report abuse
Stevie “I hope our Colombian and Nicaraguan brothers and sisters finds a solution that suits them both. If not, Colombia will have to follow the ruling and try their case in another instance.”

Agreed :-) , I hope so too, Seeing others news sites it seems what bothers Colombia is that aparently they want to expand more than the courts ruling very near Colombia´s Costa Rica and Jamaica territory, which affects all of them. In another site it seems Nicaragua is asking for a clarification from the court over the exact position of the new limits stablished which I think is a good idea.

I must also said this surprises me a little, years ago the UN members signed a treaty in which territorial limits were stablished so there would not be those kinds of troubles.

@Gonzo “Yesterday, PA members were the best countries in Latin America, today all of them are banana republics” XD, yes, that´s “public oppinion change of humor” in action about PA or , any other matter being discussed really, So the best Pacific Alliance can do about is work and keep growing. It´s an intesting and worthy proyect after all. :-)
21 Gonzo22 (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:30 pm Report abuse
@20 Ma'am don't get mad at me! I'm not the one that called the members of the PA “banana republics”, those are the British posters.
22 Elena (#) Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:53 pm Report abuse
21 But I didn´t get mad at you Gonzo :- ( hence the “XD” thing, I was more making fun of how brief good public perception can be, most news agencies are experts at making it so even. Greetings ;-)
23 Don Alberto (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 02:34 am Report abuse
Jeeez - dagos in court. They only respect the ruling if it's to their advantage.
24 St.John (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 02:38 am Report abuse
@ 7 Steve-33-uk
who writes: “I thought Columbia was one of the few respectable / trustworthy Latin American countries!”

It is.
As respectable and trustworthy as a Latin American country can be.
Don't expect pigs to fly, either.
25 Stevie (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 05:07 am Report abuse
How is it you put it, Gonzo...

When hate becomes a prison, yes...

Well, here are a
26 Conqueror (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 09:42 am Report abuse
@12 Thing is that there is no recognised “appeal” from an ICJ judgement. However, application can be made to the Security Council to “enforce” a ruling. The important thing would be how Colombia approached the Security Council. If it were to point to inequities and/or impracticalities, it could persuade the Security Council to do various things. For example, the Security Council might pass a resolution to stop Nicaragua granting oil exploration licences. It could go on to refer the matter back to the ICJ for consideration of the inequities and the impracticalities.
@21 Can you not read? Since when was Nicaragua a member of the PA? Must learn to read what is wrote.
@24 It must be remembered that Colombia is only on its way to being respectable and trustworthy. It is a fact that, until the 1980s, Colombia was seen only as a drug source country with most of the world's major drug cartels. As such, it was neither respectable nor trustworthy. The considerable decrease in cocaine production is a good thing. The continuing conflict with FARC doesn't help as FARC and others tend to use narcotics for funding.
27 Stevie (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 09:47 am Report abuse
I just read that the UK has some of the best universities in the entire world.

Now, what good does it do you lot if you systematically avoid them???
28 Neogranadinian (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 08:41 pm Report abuse
China will never give away The Tibet, Israel will never surrender their land to Palestine, UK will never surrender the Falkland Island, USA will never give away Alaska or the pacific island of Guam, Why in God's name Would Colombia accept this ruling by a bunch of dumb European judges that has never even been in the American Continent. Colombia: a new emergent economy, the second richest of South America, with an elite army part of the top 10 most powerful armed forces in the world, WILL NEVER “”“”EVER“”“” allow any other country to take over our land and waters.
Managua will fear our DRONES if they ever put a foot on any of those islands.
29 Stevie (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 09:10 pm Report abuse
Get out of that costume...
30 St.John (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 09:27 pm Report abuse
@ 28 Neogranadinian

No, no, no, the Colombian elite army is THE STRONGEST army in the world.

It can defeat the combined armies of USA, Britain, China, Russia and Monaco - well, at least Monaco, if their army stays at home.

BTW: If you run short in drones, new ones can be bought here:

Also, let's have your say on:

1. Exactly which part(s) of the court's findings do you disagree with?

2. Who were the ICJ judges, name and home country?

3. Whom among them are European (suggestions: Cançado, Trindade or Xue)?
31 A_Voice (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 09:42 pm Report abuse
...not top ten or... twenty or ...thirty but... No.41 actually
32 Gonzo22 (#) Sep 17th, 2013 - 10:38 pm Report abuse
Argentina # 35 and Chile # 51...
33 ChrisR (#) Sep 18th, 2013 - 07:04 pm Report abuse
@ 32 BOZO

UK No. 5

Don't be misled by Chile being below The Dark Country. They have soldiers, you have proven COWARDS.

Remember the Falklands, how many ships ran back to port NEVER to be seen again?

How many poor Patagonians lads were conscripted to be under the fascist crap of the Junta only to be fed by the Brits when they surrendered, their first real meal since they landed?

Grow a pair you argie twat.

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