The ICJ should soon deliver judgments on Preliminary Objections in the two most recent Nicaragua v Colombia cases. Both cases are closely related to the 2012 Judgment in Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v Colombia). In one of them, Nicaragua repeats a pleading the Court rejected in the 2012 Judgment for procedural reasons – that the maritime delimitation take into account Nicaragua’s proposed extended Continental Platform. In the other, Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights, Nicaragua requests the Court, first, to declare that Colombia has violated Nicaragua’s maritime sovereignty as established in the 2012 judgment; second, that Colombia ‘is bound to comply with the Judgment of 19 November 2012, wipe out the legal and material consequences of its internationally wrongful acts, and make full reparation for the harm caused by those acts’.
International Courts and Compliance Jurisdiction
Alleged Violations is the first attempt in half a century to directly bring to the ICJ a dispute concerning compliance with one of its judgments. This is less surprising once one finds out that, in the 1951 judgment in Haya de la Torre, the ICJ refused to provide meaningful guidance regarding the implementation of its 1950 Asylum judgment, on grounds that implementation of judgments must be based ‘only on considerations of practicability or political expediency’, and therefore is ‘not part of the Court’s judicial function’. Subsequent compliance cases (discussed below), other than the sui generis case of Nuclear Tests II, were ‘disguised’ as requests for interpretation, most clearly in Avena and Temple.
Alleged Violations therefore gives the Court the opportunity to re-assess its jurisprudence on the matter, and establish that questions regarding compliance with and implementation of judgments are legal questions, as justiciable as any other. Read the rest of this entry…