Bolivia Institutes Proceedings Against Chile Before the ICJ

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After a lull of almost a year and a half, the ICJ got a new case – yesterday Bolivia instituted proceedings against Chile with regard to Chille’s alleged obligation to negotiate with Bolivia a fully sovereign acess to the Pacific Ocean for the latter. The Court’s press release is here, and the application here. Seems like a rather unorthodox case – any comments by readers on whether there have been other cases in which the main claim by the applicant is that the respondent has a duty to negotiate with it are welcome.

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Mariano de Alba Uribe says

April 25, 2013

I am not aware of any other case related to the duty to negotiate. In any case, my view is that the litigation has not much sense, since even assuming that the Court orders Chile to negotiate, the Court cannot oblige Chile that the results of such negotiation will effectively grant Bolivia access to the sea.

That being said, if this case eventually gets decided, it will be interesting to see the precisions that the Court will make about the legal effects of unilateral acts of States and also about the principle of estoppel. Those appear to be the main legal basis of Bolivia.

If you are interested in more details about this case, I invite you to my blog (in Spanish):

Alicia Köppen says

May 18, 2013

This interesting German article ( written by Sebastian Tho Pesch contains a reference to the Pulp Mills Case as a precedent of the ICJ dealing with a contractual obligation to negotiate.