Costa Rica and Nicaragua at ICJ

19 January 2011 by Pablo Gamez

Costa Rica faced Nicaragua last week at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with the former demanding the withdrawal of Nicaraguan troops allegedly active on its territory. The border dispute has once again strained diplomatic relations between the two neighbours.

Before a board of 16 judges at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Costa Rican delegation denounced the “provocation” of its neighbour, while Nicaragua criticised San Jose for “initiating an international scandal” about “simple dredging work” in a tiny territory.

The two countries returned to The Hague less than two years after the ICJ ruling on their historic dispute over the sovereignty of the San Juan river, which delimits a part of their common border.

The San Juan river returns to centre stage in the current disagreement that began in October with the alleged invasion of the small river islands of Portillos and Calero by a group of Nicaraguan soldiers. The sovereignty of the islands, located in the Caribbean at the mouth of the river in a marshy area, is disputed by both countries.

Costa Rica is now asking the ICJ to request the immediate withdrawal of the Nicaraguan soldiers from the islands. It further demands that its neighbour stops the construction of a canal in the area, saying it is causing environmental damage.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

article
11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

article
23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

article
United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

article
06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.