(posted Oct. 16, 2: 30 p.m.)– With wildly divergent views of this week’s courtroom proceedings and the greater border conflict in general, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are both patting themselves on the back in anticipation of a victory in the latest round of litigation at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla is calling Nicaragua’s defense against allegations of encroachment and environmental damage “erratic, false and deceitful.” She scoffed at Nicaragua’s explanation that the border zone river-dredging operations were conducted inadvertently by Eden Pastora, a Sandinista operative who is leading his government’s dredging operations in the Rio San.
“Today in The Hague, Nicaragua recognized that they entered (the disputed territory) and cut canals, but that Pastora did so without the authorization of the government (¡!¿?)” Chinchilla tweeted on Tuesday.
Pastora denies any wrongdoing and insists that Nicaragua is complying fully with the ICJ’s orders to withdraw from the disputed border zone until a final resolution is reached.
Nicaraguan legal analysts applauded their country’s defense at The Hague as “valiant,” “transparent,” and “honest.” Nicaraguan pundits claim Costa Rica failed to provide evidence of serious environmental damage caused by the dredging. They believe the ICJ will not issue any additional measures, as requested by the Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, however, claims its satellite images provide “irrefutable proof” that Nicaragua has violated the Court’s previous orders by excavating land and stationing military personnel in the disputed border zone.
Nicaragua’s most effective defense strategy so far has been to go on the offensive against Costa Rica by arguing that their southern neighbor is the one to blame for the environmental damage caused in the area. Nicaragua says Costa Rica’s construction of a 160 KM riverside highway along the Rio San Juan has caused far more damage than Pastora’s dredging efforts.
“The issue is not the 250 hectares of swampland. The key issue is that Nicaragua has the right to maintain the river clear and navigable,” said Carlos Argüello, Nicaragua’s representative to The Hague.
The Court is expected to rule on the matter following tomorrow’s concluding arguments.