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Costa Rica – Nicaragua: compensation for environmental damages caused by Nicaragua

COSTA RICA  –  NICARAGUA : COMPENSATION  FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE  /  MONTO INDEMNIZATORIO POR DAÑO AMBIENTAL

Costa Rica – Nicaragua: compensation for environmental damages caused by Nicaragua (Spanish version available too)

On August 29, 2017, the written procedure finalized at Internacional Court of Justice (ICJ) between Costa Rica and Nicaragua concerning the compensation for environmental damages caused by Nicaragua in the area called “Isla Portillos” in October 2010. In June 2016, Costa Rica unilaterally announced that the total amount due by Nicaragua was more than US$ 6 millions. In its decision on time-limits to present written arguments, it can be read that methodological aspects are discussed:

…, by a letter dated 20 June 2017, Costa Rica stated that, in its Counter-Memorial, Nicaragua introduced evidence, and raised a number of arguments, in particular in respect of Costa Rica’s expert evidence, which Costa Rica “ha[d] not yet had the opportunity to address”; whereas, in the same letter Costa Rica, inter alia, contested the methodology used by Nicaragua for the assessment of environmental harm; whereas Costa Rica thus requested the Court to be given an opportunity to respond by way of a short reply; Whereas, by a letter dated 23 June 2017, Nicaragua objected to Costa Rica’s request and asked the Court “to proceed and assess the relevant material damage and the amount of compensation based on the evidence that the Parties have provided in their Memorial and CounterMemorial”;

In its order of July 18th (see full text), ICJ ordered that:

Whereas the Court notes that the Parties hold different views as to the methodology for the assessment of environmental harm and finds it necessary for them to address this issue in a brief second round of written pleadings, Authorizes the submission of a Reply by Costa Rica and a Rejoinder by Nicaragua on the sole question of the methodology adopted in the expert reports presented by the Parties in the Memorial and Counter-Memorial, respectively, on the question of compensation due in the present case; Fixes the following time-limits for the filing of those pleadings: 8 August 2017 for the Reply of the Republic of Costa Rica; 29 August 2017 for the Rejoinder of the Republic of Nicaragua“;

The absence of bilateral negociations between Costa Rica and Nicaragua since the judgement of December 15th to calculate the amount of the compensation can explain, at least partially, the time taken by both States before the ICJ (see our article entittled “Monto por daño causado en Isla Portillos oficializado por Costa Rica: breves apuntes“, published by OPALC and available here).

In this article it can be read that: “Es de recordar que, en una materia como la ambiental, la cuantificación del daño depende básicamente de la metodología escogida. En Centroamérica, no existe una metodología regional aceptada por los Estados en materia de cuantificación del daño ambiental, por lo que es posible que ambos Estados cuenten con herramientas técnicas distintas“.

Foto extraída de artículo publicado en Amelia Rueda

Figura del Caño “Google” o “Caño Pastora” (trazo azul), un caño artificial realizado por Nicaragua en Isla Portillos en octubre del 2010, a partir de un mapa erróneo de Google Map (figura realizada por el Dr. Allan Astorga Gattgens, Escuela de Geología, UCR) y toma aérea del mismo caño

 

Costa Rica – Nicaragua: monto indemnizatorio por daño ambiental causado por Nicaragua

Este 29 de agosto concluyó la etapa escrita ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ) sobre el monto indemnizatorio que Costa Rica exijió que la CIJ ordenara a Nicaragua pagar por los daños ocasionados en el sector denominado Isla Portillos en octubre del 2010. En junio del 2016, Costa Rica anunció de forma unilateral un monto superior a los 6 millones de US$. Como era de esperar, este monto fue rechazado por Nicaragua.

En la decisión de la CIJ que fija el calendario de esta nueva etapa procesal se lee que los aspectos metodólogicos son los que son objeto de discusión entre ambos Estados:

…, by a letter dated 20 June 2017, Costa Rica stated that, in its Counter-Memorial, Nicaragua introduced evidence, and raised a number of arguments, in particular in respect of Costa Rica’s expert evidence, which Costa Rica “ha[d] not yet had the opportunity to address”; whereas, in the same letter Costa Rica, inter alia, contested the methodology used by Nicaragua for the assessment of environmental harm; whereas Costa Rica thus requested the Court to be given an opportunity to respond by way of a short reply; Whereas, by a letter dated 23 June 2017, Nicaragua objected to Costa Rica’s request and asked the Court “to proceed and assess the relevant material damage and the amount of compensation based on the evidence that the Parties have provided in their Memorial and CounterMemorial

El pasado 18 de julio del 2017, la CIJ adoptó una ordenanza abriendo una nueva ronda de alegatos con relación a la metodología usada. En su ordenanza (véase texto) se lee que: “

Whereas the Court notes that the Parties hold different views as to the methodology for the assessment of environmental harm and finds it necessary for them to address this issue in a brief second round of written pleadings, Authorizes the submission of a Reply by Costa Rica and a Rejoinder by Nicaragua on the sole question of the methodology adopted in the expert reports presented by the Parties in the Memorial and Counter-Memorial, respectively, on the question of compensation due in the present case; Fixes the following time-limits for the filing of those pleadings: 8 August 2017 for the Reply of the Republic of Costa Rica; 29 August 2017 for the Rejoinder of the Republic of Nicaragua;”

La ausencia de negociaciones bilaterales para determinar el monto indemmizatorio entre Costa Rica y Nicaragua desde la decisión de diciembre del 2015 de la CIJ puede explicar, al menos en parte, el tiempo transcurrido entre ambos Estados (véase al respecto nuestro artículo titulado “Monto por daño causado en Isla Portillos oficializado por Costa Rica: breves apuntes“, publicado en el OPALC y disponible aquí). En el precitado artículo se puede leer que: “Es de recordar que, en una materia como la ambiental, la cuantificación del daño depende básicamente de la metodología escogida. En Centroamérica, no existe una metodología regional aceptada por los Estados en materia de cuantificación del daño ambiental, por lo que es posible que ambos Estados cuenten con herramientas técnicas distintas“.

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