International Court of Justice Finds Colombia to Have Sovereignty Over Disputed Maritime Areas

By MarEx 2012-11-19 11:36:01

Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia)

The Court finds that Colombia has sovereignty over the maritime features
in dispute and draws a single maritime boundary

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has rendered its Judgment in the case concerning the Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia).

In its Judgment, which is final, without appeal and binding on the Parties, the Court, 

(1) finds, unanimously, that the Republic of Colombia has sovereignty over the islands at Alburquerque, Bajo Nuevo, East-Southeast Cays, Quitasueño, Roncador, Serrana and Serranilla; 

(2) finds, by fourteen votes to one, admissible the Republic of Nicaragua’s claim contained in its final submission I (3) requesting the Court to adjudge and declare that “[t]he appropriate form of delimitation, within the geographical and legal framework constituted by the mainland coasts of Nicaragua and Colombia, is a continental shelf boundary dividing by equal parts the overlapping entitlements to a continental shelf of both Parties”;

(3) finds, unanimously, that it cannot uphold the Republic of Nicaragua’s claim contained in its final submission I (3);

(4) decides, unanimously, that the line of the single maritime boundary delimiting the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zones of the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republic of Colombia shall follow geodetic lines connecting the points with co-ordinates:

Latitude north                           Longitude west
1. 13° 46' 35.7"                           81° 29' 34.7"
2. 13° 31' 08.0"                           81° 45' 59.4"
3. 13° 03' 15.8"                           81° 46' 22.7"
4. 12° 50' 12.8"                           81° 59' 22.6"
5. 12° 07' 28.8"                           82° 07' 27.7"
6. 12° 00' 04.5"                           81° 57' 57.8"

From point 1, the maritime boundary line shall continue due east along the parallel of latitude (co-ordinates 13° 46' 35.7" N) until  it reaches the 200-nautical-mile limit from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of Nicaragua is measured.  From point 6 (with co-ordinates 12° 00' 04.5" N and 81° 57' 57.8" W), located on a 12-nautical-mile envelope of arcs around Alburquerque, the maritime boundary line shall continue along that envelope of arcs until it reaches point 7 (with co-ordinates 12° 11' 53.5" N and 81° 38' 16.6" W) which is located on the parallel passing through the southernmost point on the 12-nautical-mile envelope of arcs around East-Southeast Cays.  The boundary line then follows that parallel until it reaches the southernmost point of the 12-nautical-mile envelope of arcs around East-Southeast Cays at point 8 (with co-ordinates 12° 11' 53.5" N and 81° 28' 29.5" W) and continues along that envelope of arcs until its most eastward point (point 9 with co-ordinates 12° 24' 09.3" N and 81° 14' 43.9" W).  From that point the boundary line follows the parallel of  latitude (co-ordinates 12° 24' 09.3" N) until it reaches the 200–nautical–mile limit from the baselines from which the territorial sea of Nicaragua is measured;

(5) decides, unanimously, that the single maritime boundary around Quitasueño and Serrana shall follow, respectively, a 12-nautical-mile envelope of arcs measured from QS 32 and from low-tide elevations located within 12 nautical miles from QS 32, and a 12-nautical-mile envelope of arcs measured from Serrana Cay and the other cays in its vicinity;

(6) rejects, unanimously, the Republic of  Nicaragua’s claim contained in its final submissions requesting the Court to declare that the Republic of Colombia is not acting in accordance with its obligations under international law by preventing the Republic of Nicaragua from having access to natural resources to the east of the 82nd meridian. 

Construction of the provisional median line

For the full text of the ruling, click HERE.