International court favors Colombia in islands case

The principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice Monday ruled that Colombia, and not Nicaragua, has sovereignty over seven disputed islands in the Caribbean Sea.

In its judgement, which is final and binding, the court found that Roncador, Quitasueño, Serrana, Serranilla, Bajo Nuevo, Cayo Bolivar and Alburquerque belonged to Colombia.

The long-running territorial and maritime dispute between the two countries, first brought before the international court in 2001, also concerned the maritime delimitation between them.

As part of Monday’s ruling, the court, which is based in The Hague, The Netherlands, proceeded to delimit the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zones of Nicaragua and Colombia in the area lying 200 nautical miles off the Nicaraguan coasts.

In a 2007 judgment, the court had already held that it had no jurisdiction with regard to Nicaragua’s claim to sovereignty over the islands of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, because this question had been determined by a 1928 treaty by which Nicaragua recognized Colombian sovereignty over these islands.

In Costa Rica, the foreign ministry declined to issue a statement.

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