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#ICJ | Judges analyze the situation on Nicaragua/Costa Rica Border using Wikipedia Maps

Updated: Jul 27, 2019

[By Florencia Fernandez]

On 25th July, in the second session of the International Court of Justice, the Judges restarted the discussion over the sovereignty in the “Isla Calero”. However, Your Honors were confused about the lines, the maps and basically the whole area in which the conflict occurs. They have even relied on a Wikipedia Map and a live Google Map to reassure the Treaty of Limits of 1858 and affirm geographically that Costa Rica is the legal owner of the island. It seems controversial that now they admit these maps which were unvalued in the first session.

Judge Ahmed even stated: “Sources do not matter in this case because all we need to analyze is the geographic”. As a Court that deals with International Law, it is concerning to the International Community that Judges take more into consideration historical treaties than social and economic prerogatives on decision on sovereignty cases.

Later on, Judges stood in front of the Google Maps map and strongly affirmed that Costa Rica is the owner of Island Calero. Due to that, an apology was requested from Nicaragua to Costa Rica for the invasion. This led to a debate on two big questions: Will Nicaragua pay any fine to Costa Rica? And will the Nicaraguan army be punished for its action?

Judge Sebutinde declared that a payment penalty shouldn’t be considered because of the social and economic issue that can be started by it. And regarding the second question, a controversial resolution made by the Judge Ahmed and Judge Abraham unsettled the Court. The two Judges wanted to reduce the Nicaraguan Army as a whole for invading Costa Rica territory, as a similar action was taken on German post World War I and was one of the factors which influenced in World War II. In a world that multilateralism and respect of sovereignty are put to question, these type of action is alarming especially coming from a Court of Justice. However, no decision was achieved on both questions until now

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