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On 26 November 2013, the Republic of Colombia presented five preliminary

objections against the demand imposed by Nicaragua against them. This demand
was concerning the violations of Colombia against Nicaraguan sovereign rights
over maritime zones recognized Nicaraguas property after the International Court
of Justices judgment on 19 November 2012. In this preliminary objections
Colombia exposed that ICJ do not have jurisdiction in this case because they
established a denunciation to the Pact of Bogota on 27 November 2012, before
this new procedure began.


Then, taking into account the last facts, arise the issue about whether the
International Court of Justice had or no jurisdiction on this dispute between
Nicaragua and Colombia?

Regarding first preliminary objection, through the interpretation of second

paragraph of Article LVI of the Pact of Bogot Colombia affirmed that the ICJ do not
have jurisdiction in the demand imposed by Nicaragua. The Colombian argument
is based on the textual reading of the second paragraph, the State practice and the
mean of the travaux prparatoires of the Pact that supports the Colombian

AT FIRST, taking into account the second paragraph of Article LVI of the
Pact of Bogota: the denunciation shall have no effect with respect to pending
procedures initiated prior to the transmission of the particular notification (Pact of
Bogota), Colombia inferred that if the paragraph guaranteed every pending
procedure initiated prior to denunciation and did not do the same with the
procedures initiated after denunciation, these last ones were not permitted.
However, the Nicaraguas answer was that this interpretation was against the
stipulated words of first paragraph in the same article (Article LVI) that the State
who make the denunciation will stay in force by the Pact at least one year more.
Also, Nicaragua said that the Article XXXI of the Pact establish that while the Pact
is in force, the ICJ jurisdiction too.

AT SECOND, Colombia affirmed that like El Salvador did, they could do the
same. The Salvadorian denunciation of the Pact of Bogota was made on 1973 with
the announcement that it will begin to take effect as of today and after that, no
States responded to that. For that reason, the Colombian interpretation was valid
with base on the State practice. Nevertheless, Nicaragua did not agree with it.
They maintain that the States do not have obligation to respond any denunciation if
they are in disagree and in the Pact there is no article that defines it.

AT THIRD, Colombia held that the second paragraph of Article LVI of the
Pact of Bogota was added in an initiative taken by the United States before the
treaty entered to operate. The Colombian defense affirmed that they could interpret
this act like a try to limit the effects of first paragraph of Article LVI. Nonetheless,
Nicaragua disagreed with that and said that the travaux prparatoires do not say
nothing about it.


Finally, the International Court of Justice held that the Colombian interpretation was
conflicting with the effects of first paragraph of Article LVI and the entire Article
XXXI, even with the objective and purpose of the Pact of Bogota and its articles. In
addition, they affirmed that the Salvadorian case do not have relation with the
Colombian case and the treaty was in force at least one year more after the
denunciation. At last, the travaux prparatoires do not say nothing that supports the
Colombian interpretation and for that reason they were discarded from the ICJ

Therefore, the ICJ determined that they actually have jurisdiction over the dispute
between Nicaragua and Colombia. In consequence, Colombia must recognize the
capability of ICJ to solve the procedure imposed by Nicaragua and abide the
subsequent decision.

This case left a precedent to every procedure between States part to the Pact of
Bogota. Thus, any State who decided to put a denunciation against the Pact
should know that they must wait one year more in force below the treaty. For that
reason, the Colombian argument was void and Nicaraguan demand was taken into
account. Furthermore, this case left a precedent to the worldwide. A treaty must be
interpreted and read in use of good faith regarding the objective and purpose of it,
and interpretations looking for only convenience must be rejected. However, the
words used in the drafting of a treaty are important like the objective and purpose
and both should be in the same way.


ICJ. (2016). Preliminary objections. Alleged violations of sovereign rights and

maritime spaces in the Caribbean Sea.

Pact of Bogota. (1948). American Treaty on Pacific Settlement Pact of Bogota.