San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica case against Nicaragua heads to world court

In a case before the world court at the Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday, both countries presented their arguments before a 16-member jury.

Costa Rica opened the day by accusing Nicaragua of endangering the stability and peace that exists between the two neighboring countries, while urging the court to rule to remove Nicaraguan troops from their “illegitimate” occupation of the Isla Calero. The Costa Rican contingent, which consists of Foreign Minister René Castro, Edgar Ugalde, Costa Rican lawyers Arnoldo Brenes and Sergio Ugalde, and court-appointed lawyers Marcelo Cohen and James Crawford, also urged the court to rule to cease the “imminent and irreparable environmental damage” caused by Nicaragua in the border region.

In the afternoon, Nicaragua presented its case before the jury, claiming that Costa Rica “creates a dispute” every time Nicaragua begins work on the Río San Juan. Carlos Argüello, the Nicaragua’s representative before the court, also attempted to discredit the claims that Nicaragua “invaded” Costa Rican territory by arguing that the dispute was caused by a lack of well-defined borders.

In a video conference after the proceedings on Tuesday, Castro said he felt very confident about the Costa Rican presentation to the court on the first day of the three-day hearings.

“We have put all our arguments out there,” he said. “There has been irrefutable damage done to Costa Rican territory and we feel the court has heard our argument. Our presentation is very consistent, as it has been since this issue began.”

Castro’s comments were followed by words from President Laura Chinchilla, who addressed the press on Tuesday afternoon.

“We are very pleased with the results of the proceedings this morning and the case presented by Costa Rica at The Hague,” she said. “The more the world knows about this situation, the more the world will favor Costa Rica.”

For more coverage of the Costa Rica-Nicaragua case at the world court, see the Jan. 14 print edition of The Tico Times.

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