Judges side with Costa Rica in territorial dispute with Nicaragua

The Guardian UKCosta Rica has won a lingering, bitter territorial row with Nicaragua after a top UN court ruled that it had sovereignty over a small patch of wetlands on the river San Juan. The court “finds that Costa Rica has sovereignty over the disputed territory as defined by the court”, the judges from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled, in a statement read to the hearing.

Basing its ruling in part on an 1858 treaty between the two countries, the court also reproached Managua for violating San José’s right to navigation in the waters which form their joint border.

By “excavating” three channels in the river and “establishing a military presence on Costa Rican territory, Nicaragua has violated the territory and sovereignty” of its neighbour, the 16-judge panel found.

A satisfied Costa Rica hailed the decision, and while Nicaragua lamented the loss of the territory it took heart from some sharp criticism of its neighbour for building a road along the banks. …

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