UN Court Raps Colombia Over Violation of Nicaragua’s Sovereign Rights

The  principal judicial organ of the United Nations ruled Thursday that Colombia has violated Nicaragua’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the latter’s exclusive maritime zone.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) favored Nicaragua, nine to six votes, over the said violation. The court said that Colombia had interfered with fishing and marine scientific research activities of Nicaraguan vessels in Nicaragua’s exclusive economic zone.

Nicaragua accused Colombia of directing its military aircraft toward Nicaraguan waters to obstruct the exercises of the Nicaraguan Navy. It also said that Colombia granted its people fishing and marine scientific research activities on Nicaraguan maritime zone.

In response, Colombia asserted that the ancestral inhabitants of the San Andrés Archipelago, including the Raizales, have been fishing and turtling in the said maritime zone for more than three centuries. 

On November 19, 2012, ICJ delimited the exclusive economic zones of Nicaragua and Colombia in the case of territorial disputes of the two countries over the Caribbean Sea. The court awarded Nicaragua a portion of the disputed Caribbean Sea territory extending 200 nautical miles from its coastline.

ICJ has ordered Colombia to immediately cease to interfere with  Nicaragua’s maritime activities and to respect the sovereign rights of the country over its maritime zone.

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