Those waters are said to hold much oil and gas deposits beneath them, and President Santos, under pressure from environmentalists, had announced a moratorium on exploratory drilling in them. After the court’s ruling, Nicaraguan officials said they would study exploration.
As a result, the Santos government has now opted to remove Colombia from the 1948 Pact of Bogota, a treaty that recognizes the World Court’s jurisdiction to resolve international disputes in general, not just territorial disputes.
Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín said it is not unusual for governments to remove themselves from the Pact of Bogota.
But departing from the Pact of Bogota essentially does nothing to change the outcome of the court’s ruling. In fact, the court’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.
Countries cannot pick and choose what parts of treaties they’ve ratified which they want to uphold.
The only thing the government’s decision accomplishes is for Colombia and the Santos administration to be viewed domestically and abroad like a child throwing a tantrum.
In hind-sight, the Colombian government’s representatives in the Hague should have paid closer attention to their homework. Colombia’s representatives in the Hague did not live there for long periods of time. On the other hand, the lawyer for Nicaragua lived in the Hague for eleven years, throughout the whole process, and was able to closely monitor the subject.
Foreign Minister Holguín said Colombia considers the court’s decision did not take into account the residents of San Andrés and Providencia who need access to the sea for their daily fishing.
Why was this not clearly articulated during the eleven years that it took for the World Court to make a decision?
President Santos reaffirmed he would only be using “peaceful means” to solve the dispute.
The court’s ruling took place on November 19, and six days later, there were reports of several Colombian military warships remaining in the waters that now belong to Nicaragua.
It is disappointing that at a time when the Santos administration is negotiating peace with the FARC, and submitting the FARC to the rule of law, the government chooses to opt out of the World Court.