A decision was made in the International Court of Justice today (ICJ), as the judges ruled unanimously that the Republic of Colombia had violated the maritime rights of the country of Nicaragua
The decision comes after discussion through the first three committee sessions to identify whether the accusations on Columbia were valid.
This case comes after Colombian naval ships had entered the Nicaraguan maritime area of the San Andreas Archipelago, with the intention of defending “Colombian territory with ‘cloak and sword,’” according to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
In a 2012 treaty, Nicaragua had previously been granted economic access (fishing & oil rights) to the area, while Colombia had control over the islands themselves. The president of Colombia felt though that this was not enough, and felt that Colombia had claims over the entire archipelago.
However, the court thought otherwise, and found that the movement of Colombian naval ships into Nicaraguan maritime space was a clear violation of Article 4 of the UN Charter. The charter states that “all Member States, ‘shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.’"
As a result of their decision, the court ordered three solutions to resolve the situation.
First, they want the United Nations Security Council (SEC) to issue penalties as they see fit on the country of Colombia.
Secondly, along with the Security Council, the court orders that a monetary fine administered and reviewed by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should be implemented on Columbia’s economy for the amount that Columbia benefitted from the “illegal economic exploitation”.
Finally, a new treaty is urged to be created between the two nations by the court, which would allow for the people of the San Andreas archipelago to have citizenship of either nation.
“This is the best solution we see fit,” said the Moroccan Judge Mohamed Bennouna. “It helps Nicaragua, penalizes Colombia, but most importantly, gives freedom to the citizens of the archipelago.”
The court made the decision around 10:00 A.M. earlier today during their third committee session.