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Nicaragua Acuses Costa Rica of Environmental Damage

Article Summary:

Nicaragua ecologist leveled allegations against Costa Rica for environmental damages caused by their road construction at the San Juan River. It seems both sides are claiming they are better care takers of the San Juan River basin. Nicaragua claims Costa Rica uses the basin as a trash bin, and the excavation of the area of a Costa Rican road threatens its residents with landslides. Will a pending court date settle the disagreement?

Photo Credit: La Prensa Nicaragua

Original Article Text From La Prensa, Nicaragua via Google Translate:

Environmental Crime Ticos
The country’s most prominent ecologists yesterday demanded one thing: that the Nicaraguan government to sue the Costa Rican reserve for damage to the San Juan River with the construction of a road. Environmentalists showed photos provided by Costa Rican counterparts as evidence of the destruction on the banks of the mighty river.

Some of the most prominent ecologists Nicaragua called on the Government to present a case against Costa Rica before the International Court of Justice, for the ecological damage that is causing the Biosphere Reserve of Rio San Juan, with the construction of a road parallel, in Costa Rican territory.

“We are calling upon the Government of Nicaragua, to make a claim independent of the current environment for this crime,” the biologist Kamilo Lara, president of the National Recycling Forum.

Jaime Incer, the country’s most prestigious ecologist, supported the position of Lara in the same press conference, noting that Costa Rica has not only a historical interest in ownership of the San Juan River, whose channel is Nicaraguan, but also use it “like a carpet to cover all their trash.”

According to engineer José Antonio Milan, another prominent scientist of Nicaragua, Costa Rica works executed within 20meters of the river San Juan threatening life in the body of water, but also the lives of Costa Ricans, because, by the physical characteristics of the area, the road could suffer landslides.

For its part Norving Torres, director of Friends of the River Foundation, said that Costa Rica and Nicaragua protested before the Court by 2.5 square miles of damage unfounded, the Nicaraguan government must make its claim for damages against Costa Rica over 150 linear miles of the river San Juan.

Link to Original Article:

From La Prensa, Nicaragua via Google Translate

  • Gabriel

    While this may be a good first step, Nicaragua may be hard pressed to establish real harm from the road. It requires a showing of “substantial harm” before it can be actionable. However, they may have an argument on Costa Rica’s failure to prepare an environmental impact assessment. In the ICJ’s Pulm Mills case, the Court recognized that the practice of environmental impact assessment “has gained so much acceptance among States that it may now be considered a requirement under general international law to undertake an environmental impact assessment where there is a risk that the proposed industrial activity may have a significant adverse impact in a transboundary context, in particular, on a shared resource.” See http://www.internationalwaterlaw.org/blog/?p=700.

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