Colombia accuses Nicaragua of violating fishing rights

Colombia accuses Nicaragua of violating fishing rights

Colombia finalized its arguments before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in The Hague, on Wednesday, exposing two counterclaims that it filed against Nicaragua for allegedly ignoring the fishing rights of the inhabitants of the Colombian islands and unilaterally setting marine areas.

“These two counterclaims are Colombia’s offensive against Nicaragua,” said Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez from The Hague after attending the hearing.

According to the discharge, the Central American nation has “threatened” the Raizales —a Colombian ethnic group— and prevented them from continuing their traditional fishing: “When they feel intimidated by Nicaraguan boats, they simply refrain from fishing they need to survive.” She explained in an official statement.

This dispute between the two countries arose as a result of a lawsuit that Nicaragua filed against Colombia in November 2013 in which it claims that the Andean country had violated its sovereign rights in the maritime zones of Nicaragua, which were defined by the same court in a 2012 ruling that was more favorable to Nicaragua.

Said demand does not ask for a new maritime delimitation, however, it could determine the rights of the two countries over an area of ​​the Caribbean Sea used for artisanal and industrial fishing.

During the hearings of the oral stage, the Nicaraguan legal team assured that Colombia must compensate Nicaragua for the “damages caused by the violations of its international legal obligations,” which agent Carlos Argüello indicated on Monday includes the “exploitation of resources living in the exclusive economic zone of Nicaragua by (Colombian) fishing vessels”.

However, the lawyers representing Colombia assure that the evidence provided by Nicaragua does not deal with any specific incident involving Colombia’s interference in the exercise of Nicaragua’s sovereign rights.

“None of the facts discussed (by Nicaragua) showed interference or hostile actions by the Colombian Navy with respect to the activities of Nicaraguan fishermen,” lawyer Rodman Bundy said Wednesday.

The other counterclaim has to do with the decree issued by Nicaragua in 2013 in which the baselines of its maritime spaces in the Caribbean Sea are set, which Colombia considers “contrary to international law” for “unilaterally adjudicating marine areas in to the detriment of Colombia”.

“First, the geographical facts clearly do not allow Nicaragua to draw straight lines along its coast. Secondly, even if it were the case, the lines drawn do not respect the rules that apply to this method at all,” said Jean-Marc Thouvenin, a member of the Colombian legal team, during the hearing.

On Friday, Nicaragua is expected to close its allegations and with this the hearings will end. Subsequently, the Court will examine the claim and the counterclaims and then issue a ruling, which may take several months.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.For tips or news submission: