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Français

Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)

Proceedings joined with Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) on 17 April 2013

Overview of the case

On 18 November 2010, Costa Rica instituted proceedings against Nicaragua in respect of an alleged “incursion into, occupation of and use by Nicaragua’s army of Costa Rican territory as well as [alleged] breaches of Nicaragua’s obligations towards Costa Rica” under a number of international treaties and conventions. Costa Rica contended that Nicaragua had, in two separate incidents, occupied the territory of Costa Rica in connection with the construction of a canal (caño, the Spanish designation adopted by both Parties) across Costa Rican territory from the San Juan River to Laguna los Portillos (or “Harbor Head Lagoon”), and carried out certain related works of dredging on the San Juan River.

The Application was accompanied by a request for the indication of provisional measures, on which the Court ruled by an Order of 8 March 2011. The Court subsequently decided, by an Order of 17 April 2013, that it was appropriate, in conformity with the principle of the sound administration of justice and with the need for judicial economy, to join the proceedings in the present case with those in the case concerning Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica). It then ruled on the counterclaims submitted by Nicaragua in its Counter-Memorial, and on a request by Costa Rica for the modification of the Order of 8 March 2011.

In September 2013, Costa Rica submitted to the Court a request for the indication of new provisional measures. In an Order of 22 November 2013, the Court reaffirmed the measures prescribed in its Order of 8 March 2011 and indicated new provisional measures addressed to both Parties.

The Court delivered its Judgment on the merits on 16 December 2015. After establishing that it had jurisdiction over the case, the Court found that Costa Rica had sovereignty over the disputed territory lying in the northern part of Isla Portillos. It therefore considered that the activities carried out by Nicaragua in the disputed territory since 2010, including the excavation of three caños and establishment of a military presence in parts of that territory, were in breach of Costa Rica’s territorial sovereignty, and that Nicaragua consequently incurred the obligation to make reparation for the damage caused by its unlawful activities on Costa Rican territory. In its Judgment, the Court ruled that Nicaragua has the obligation to compensate Costa Rica for the material damages caused by its unlawful activities; failing an agreement on the matter between the Parties within 12 months, the Court would settle this issue in a subsequent procedure.

Following a letter dated 16 January 2017 by which Costa Rica requested the Court “to settle the question of the compensation due to Costa Rica for damages caused by Nicaragua’s unlawful activities”, the Court delivered its Judgment on the question on 2 February 2018. In its Judgment, the Court was of the view that damage to the environment, and the consequent impairment or loss of the ability of the environment to provide goods and services, is compensable under international law. In determining the compensation due for environmental damage, the Court assessed the value to be assigned to the restoration of the damaged environment as well as to the impairment or loss of environmental goods and services prior to recovery. It followed from the Court’s analysis of the compensable costs and expenses that the total amount of compensation awarded to Costa Rica was US$378,890.59 to be paid by Nicaragua by 2 April 2018. This amount includes the principal sum of US$358,740.55 and pre-judgment interest on the compensable costs and expenses in the amount of US$20,150.04.

By a letter dated 22 March 2018, Nicaragua informed the Registry of the Court that, on 8 March 2018, it had transferred to Costa Rica the total amount of compensation awarded to the latter.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Request by Costa Rica for the Indication of Provisional Measures

18 November 2010
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Written observations of Nicaragua on the admissibility of its counter-claims

30 January 2013
Procedure(s): Counter-claims
Available in:
English

Request by Costa Rica for the Indication of new Provisional Measures

24 September 2013
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 2011/1

Public sitting held on Tuesday 11 January 2011, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Owada presiding, in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2011/2

Public sitting held on Tuesday 11 January 2011, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Owada presiding, in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2011/3

Public sitting held on Wednesday 12 January 2011, at 4.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Owada presiding, in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2011/4

Public sitting held on Thursday 13 January 2011, at 4.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Owada presiding, in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/24

Public sitting held on Monday 14 October 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/25

Public sitting held on Tuesday 15 October 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/26

Public sitting held on Wednesday 16 October 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/27

Public sitting held on Thursday 17 October 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/2

Public sitting held on Tuesday 14 April 2015, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/3

Public sitting held on Tuesday 14 April 2015, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/4

Public sitting held on Wednesday 15 April 2015, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/5

Public sitting held on Thursday 16 April 2015, at 4.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/6

Public sitting held on Friday 17 April 2015, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/7

Public sitting held on Friday 17 April 2015, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/14

Public sitting held on Tuesday 28 April 2015, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2015/15

Public sitting held on Wednesday 29 April 2015, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Abraham presiding, in the cases concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Other documents

Orders

Order of 5 April 2011

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 2 February 2017

Fixing of time-limits: written pleadings on the question of compensation
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 18 July 2017

Fixing of time-limits: Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 2011/1

Summary of the Order of 8 March 2011
Available in:
English French

Summary 2013/3

Summary of the Order of 22 November 2013
Available in:
English French

Summary 2015/3

Summary of the Judgment of 16 December 2015
Available in:
English French

Summary 2018/1

Summary of the Judgment of 2 February 2018
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 2010/38

19 November 2010
Costa Rica institutes proceedings against Nicaragua and requests the Court to indicate provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Press release 2010/40

7 December 2010
Proceedings instituted by the Republic of Costa Rica against the Republic of Nicaragua - Request for the indication of provisional measures - The Court to hold public hearings from Tuesday 11 to Thursday 13 January 2011
Available in:
English French

Press release 2011/1

13 January 2011
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Conclusion of the public hearings on Costa Rica's Request for the indication of provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Press release 2011/5

23 February 2011
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Request for the indication of provisional measures - The Court to deliver its Order on Tuesday 8 March 2011 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2011/6

8 March 2011
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Request for the indication of provisional measures - The Court requests the Parties to refrain from sending to, or maintaining in the disputed territory, including the caño, any personnel, whether civilian, police or security; it authorizes Costa Rica, in certain specific circumstances, to dispatch civilian personnel there charged with the protection of the environment; and it calls on the Parties not to aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve
Available in:
English French

Press release 2011/12

14 April 2011
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Fixing of time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/10

23 April 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court joins the proceedings in the two cases
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/12

1 May 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court rules on the counter-claims submitted by Nicaragua: it finds that the first claim is without object, that the second and third claims are inadmissible and that there is no need for it to entertain the fourth claim
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/18

25 July 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court finds that the circumstances, as they now present themselves to the Court, are not such as to require the exercise of its power to modify the measures indicated in the Order of 8 March 2011 and reaffirms those measures
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/23

25 September 2013
Costa Rica requests the Court to indicate new provisional measures in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/25

2 October 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Request for the indication of new provisional measures - The Court to hold public hearings from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 October 2013
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/26

7 October 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Request for the indication of new provisional measures - Admission procedures, video streaming and practical information for the media
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/27

15 October 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Nicaragua requests the Court to indicate provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/28

17 October 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Conclusion of the public hearings on Costa Rica’s Request for the indication of new provisional measures
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/30

21 October 2013
Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Request for the indication of provisional measures filed by Nicaragua on 11 October 2013 - The Court to hold public hearings from Tuesday 5 to Friday 8 November 2013
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/34

19 November 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Request for the indication of new provisional measures filed by Costa Rica - The Court to deliver its Order on Friday 22 November 2013 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/35

22 November 2013
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court finds that Nicaragua must refrain from any dredging and other activities in the disputed territory and must, in particular, refrain from work of any kind on the two new caños, and that it must fill the trench on the beach north of the eastern caño within two weeks
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/7

16 February 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court to hold public hearings from Tuesday 14 April to Friday 1 May 2015
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/9

30 March 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Changes to the schedule for the public hearings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/10

10 April 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)   Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Examination of experts during the public hearings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/11

1 May 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - Conclusion of the public hearings − The Court to begin its deliberation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/30

4 December 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) - The Court to deliver its Judgment on Wednesday 16 December 2015 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2015/32

16 December 2015
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - The Court finds that Nicaragua has violated Costa Rica's territorial sovereignty and navigational rights, as well as the Court's Order of 8 March 2011 indicating provisional measures, but that it did not breach procedural or substantive environmental obligations through its dredging of the San Juan River
Available in:
English French

Press release 2017/7

7 February 2017
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - The Court fixes time-limits for the filing of written pleadings on the question of compensation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2017/30

20 July 2017
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Question of compensation - The President of the Court authorizes the submission of a Reply by Costa Rica and a Rejoinder by Nicaragua and fixes time-limits for the filing of these pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2018/2

18 January 2018
Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Question of compensation - The Court to deliver its Judgment on Friday 2 February 2018 at 10 a.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2018/8

2 February 2018
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Question of compensation - The Court fixes the amount of compensation due from Nicaragua to Costa Rica
Available in:
English French

Press release 2018/15

23 March 2018
Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) - Question of compensation - Nicaragua transfers the total amount of compensation awarded to Costa Rica
Available in:
English French