Disputed islands belong to Colombia: World court
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The International Court of Justice ruled on Monday that a group of tiny islands in the western Caribbean belongs to Colombia, but also granted Nicaragua control of a large swath of the surrounding sea and seabed that could hold oil reserves.
Based on evidence presented to the judges by lawyers for both nations, "Colombia and not Nicaragua has sovereignty over the islands," the court's President Peter Tomka told delegations from both sides.
The decision not to grant Colombia full sovereignty over the waters connecting all the archipelago's islands drew a vehement objection from Colombia's president. President Juan Manuel Santos told fellow Colombians in a national speech that the court had "committed grave errors" by ignoring the terms of the very treaty it had declared valid and that the decision would hurt the archipelago's fishermen.
But despite having its sovereignty claim over the islands rejected, Nicaragua hailed the ruling as a victory. "Colombia was acting like it was the owner of these islands and like it was owner of all the maritime territory, and the court told them no, that's not how it is," Nicaragua's representative at the court , Carlos Arguello, told the country's national television channel from The Hague.