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AFP
February 3, 2018
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Top UN court draws new borders for Costa Rica, Nicaragua

World

AFP
February 3, 2018

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THE HAGUE: The UN’s highest court drew new maritime boundaries between Costa Rica and Nicaragua on Friday seeking to end a decades-long frontier dispute, and ordered Managua to pay compensation for environmental damage.

In a multi-pronged judgement, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also ordered Nicaragua to remove a military camp near the river San Juan — which divides the two neighbours — and which the Hague-based ICJ said “violated Costa Rica’s sovereignty.”

Friday’s judgements resulted from a string of disputes between the two Central American neighbours before the ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule on border and territorial disputes between nations.

Apart from a ruling on the disputed San Juan wetlands area, Costa Rica also asked the ICJ to set its maritime boundaries on both its western Pacific Ocean coast and in the Caribbean Sea to the east.

On Friday morning, the ICJ judges ruled that Managua must pay San Jose almost $380,000 for environmental damage and to compensate for the costs of efforts to restore the area on the San Juan River.

“Costa Rica has sovereignty over the whole of Isla Portillos up to the point at which the right bank of the San Juan River reaches the low-water mark of the coast of the Caribbean Sea,” judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said.

The Somali-born judge was referring to a slither of land on Costa Rica’s disputed northern border, where Nicaragua set up a military camp in 2010, dredged the San Juan River and dug three channels.

The judge ordered Managua to pay the compensation before April 2 for the damage to the land, known in Costa Rica as Isla Portillos and in Nicaragua as Harbour Head.But the amount fell far short of the $6.7 million demanded by Costa Rica in the ICJ’s first-ever compensation ruling for environmental damage.

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