The border dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua may well last longer than the presidency of Laura Chinchilla.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, has set Dec. 5 as a deadline for Costa Rica to present its written allegations and evidence. Costa Rica goes first because it is the plaintiff.
Nicaragua then has until Aug. 6, 2012, to present its counter arguments. Costa Rica wanted to give Nicaragua six months to do so. Nicaragua wanted a year, and the court said eight months.
The court may order a second round of written responses over a period that the magistrates there determine, according to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, which is handling the Costa Rican case.
After the written rounds, each country will have a chance to present its case in oral arguments. Then the court will take time to determine its verdict.
March 8 the court heard preliminary arguments as Costa Rica sought a restraining order against Nicaragua. The court basically granted that and ordered both countries to remove military and police from the disputed Isla Calero. Costa Rican officials considered this a victory because they did not have anyone in the disputed area.
Costa Rica also had the right to make an environmental inspection, but when officials did they were confronted by young Sandinista protesters.
Ms. Chinchilla leaves office May 8, 2014.
Such disputes usually are non-partisan and spill over from one presidential term to another.