On December 13 the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that three islands in the Caribbean Sea disputed between Colombia and Nicaragua in fact belong to Colombia. Nicaragua had brought action at the ICJ, arguing that it should be granted sovereignty over the islands of San AndrÃ©s, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Colombia raised preliminary objections that a 1928 treaty and the 1948 Pact of BogotÃ¡ settled the issue, and thus the ICJ does not have jurisdiction over the dispute. A 13-4 majority found that the 1928 treaty indeed settled the matter, noting that Nicaragua had not contested the treaty for over 50 years after its signing.
The judges also ruled unanimously that the treaty does not, however, cover the three other disputed cays of Roncador, QuitasueÃ±o, and Serrana, nor does it cover the delimitation of the maritime border between the two countries. The ICJ thus has the authority to adjudicate on those matters.
More on the story is available here.
The Court’s press release and judicial opinion can be downloaded here.
The International Criminal Court (also known as the World Court) hears disputes between States and its decisions are binding.