San Andres island

Colombia has until June 3 to submit arguments to the International Court of Justice that support its alleged refusal to respect a ruling that granted Caribbean waters to Nicaragua.

The two Latin American nations have a history of maritime disputes but this particular case originates from an ICJ ruling in November 2012 which set a 200-nautical-mile boundary from the Nicaraguan coastline. Within this boundary Nicaragua have exclusive rights to economic activities.

There are a number of Colombian territorial islands that lie within this boundary that are theoretically prevented from economic activity and trading.

However, Colombia has consistently rejected the ICJ ruling to the extent that it drew up a self-proclaimed map of the disputed area and, Nicaragua claims, hostile treatment by Colombian navy of Nicaraguan vessels.

In November 2013, Nicaragua returned to the ICJ filing another lawsuit against Colombia for violating their sovereign rights and maritime borders as the “threat of the use of violence…to implement these violations.”

MORE: Nicaragua takes maritime territory dispute with Colombia to the UN

This lawsuit brought before the ICJ prompted Colombia officials to regard Nicaragua’s behavior as pestilent and has since recalled its envoy to Nicaragua.

MORE:  Colombia recalls envoy to Nicaragua as territorial dispute returns to international court

The deadlines put in place by the ICJ could be considered favorable for Colombia President Juan Manual Santos.  With the presidential election beginning in May, he will avoid a potential political disaster that may arise should the ICJ find Colombia guilty of the allegations presented by Nicaragua.

Disputed waters


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