International Court of Justice to issue ruling in case involving Bolivia and Chile

International Court of Justice to issue ruling in case involving Bolivia and Chile

The International Court of Justice is expected to issue its ruling today on a long-standing territorial dispute between Bolivia and

FILE PHOTO: Bolivians hold national flags as they attend to watch the theatricalization of the battle of Canchas Blancas

Photo: Reuters/David Mercado

The International Court of Justice is expected to issue its ruling today on a long-standing territorial dispute between Bolivia and Chile.

Bolivia took Chile to the Hague-based ICJ earlier this year , seeking a ruling on the status of a disputed 380km stretch of coastline that it lost to Chile in a 19th century conflict. Bolivia—the only landlocked country to maintain a navy—seeks direct access to the Pacific through the disputed territory. Chile, while agreeing to the proceedings, has disagreed with Bolivia’s access claims, as it passes through economically important territory.

The ICJ ruling is not anticipated to be a definite ruling on the status of the coastline but is expected to force the Chilean government back to the negotiating table in ‘good faith’ to settle the dispute. But the topic of ‘good faith’ could be a difficult topic for the ICJ to define. Chile’s attempts to meet this requirement could range from agreeing to assist in trade facilitation to better terms of access for commercial ports that Bolivia already pays to use. A decision in favour of either country is no doubt expected to amplify tensions in Latin America.

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