Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
Proceedings joined with Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) on 2 February 2017
Overview of the case
On 16 January 2017, Costa Rica filed an Application instituting proceedings against Nicaragua relating to a “dispute concerning the precise definition of the boundary in the area of Los Portillos/Harbor Head Lagoon and the establishment of a new military camp by Nicaragua” on the beach of Isla Portillos.
As basis for the jurisdiction of the Court, Costa Rica relied on the declaration it made on 20 February 1973 under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute, and on the declaration made by Nicaragua on 24 September 1929 under Article 36 of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, which is deemed, pursuant to Article 36, paragraph 5, of the Statute of the present Court, to be acceptance of the latter’s compulsory jurisdiction for the period which it still has to run. In addition, Costa Rica submitted that the Court has jurisdiction “in accordance with the provisions of Article 36, paragraph 1, of its Statute, by virtue of the operation of the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement of Disputes … Article XXXI”.
In its Application, Costa Rica also asked the Court to join, pursuant to Article 47 of the Rules of Court, the proceedings with those concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua).
In view of the claims made by Costa Rica in the case concerning the Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and the close link between those claims and certain aspects of the dispute in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), by an Order of 2 February 2017, the Court joined the two proceedings.
After holding hearings on the merits of the joined cases from 3 to 13 July 2017, the Court delivered its Judgment in the joined cases on 2 February 2018 in which it, inter alia, found that Costa Rica has sovereignty over the whole northern part of Isla Portillos, including its coast up to the point at which the right bank of the San Juan River reaches the low-water mark of the coast of the Caribbean Sea, with the exception of Harbor Head Lagoon and the sandbar separating it from the Caribbean Sea, sovereignty over which appertains to Nicaragua within the boundary defined in paragraph 73 of the Judgment. It also found that, by establishing and maintaining a military camp on Costa Rican territory, the Nicaragua has violated the sovereignty of Costa Rica, and that Nicaragua must remove its military camp from Costa Rica territory.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.