After five years of diplomatic conflict, Nicaragua has paid Costa Rica US$378,890 for environmental damages its occupation of Isla Calero as it is known in Costa Rica, in 2010.

Protesters claim the disputed Harbour Head lagoon and San Juan river belong to Nicaragua. April 5, 2011. | Photo: EFE

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague ruled on December 16, 2015, that Nicaragua should pay Costa Rica for the environmental damages, related to the military occupation of the small island, located in a disputed border area between the two countries.

On February 2 of this year, the ICJ  ordered Nicaragua to pay up for the environmental damage and other costs incurred by Costa Rica, the amount a lot less than the US$6.7 million Costa Rica had demanded.

The Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Denis Moncada, told his Costa Rican counterpart Manuel Gonzalez that the money had been transferred on March 7 to Costa Rica’s Central Bank.

“We have verified that the money was transferred and we’re happy that the Government of Nicaragua fulfilled its obligation with Costa Rica according to the ruling of the International Court of Justice,” said Gonzalez in a press release. “Actions such as this contribute to the improvement of relations between both countries in benefit of the people.”

“Nicaragua has carried out several activities in the disputed territory since 2010, including excavations for three pipes and establishing a military presence in some parts of the territory. These activities violate Costa Rica’s territorial sovereignty. Nicaragua is responsible for such violations and is obligated to compensate for the damage caused by its illegal activities,” said Ronny Abraham, president of the ICJ.


Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.