The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has reached its conclusion to the four year old legal dispute regarding Costa Rica’s navigational rights on the San Juan River. The San Juan River divides Costa Rica and Nicaragua and has been the center of dispute between the two Central American countries for over 2 centuries.
Costa Rica filed a complaint before the United Nation’s highest legal entity as the country’s free navigation and commerce on the San Juan River was being compromised by Nicaragua.
On Monday July 13th, 2009, The Hague ruled Costa Rica’s right of free navigation and Nicaragua’s power of regulation over the San Juan River. The court ruled in favor to the majority of Costa Rica’s pleas except that of allowing Costa Rican police force to patrol the river.
Costa Rica hotels and tour operators in the country’s northern region organize sight seeing tours in the area which typically include navigating the San Juan River. The Nicaraguan officials would normally intercept vessels at any point on the river to request visa and tourist card payment.
The ruling of the ICJ strictly forbids this stating that Nicaragua does not have the right to such charges. Nicaragua may only request vessels to check in at their fixed check points and are in the obligation of issuing departure clearance certificates free of charge.
The ICJ website displays the entire ruling online for all citizens and interested tourists to view. In addition, a summary is also available in which the most relevant points are stated.