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QCOSTARICA – Starting today, April 14 and expected to conclude on May 1, the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ), begins oral hearings on the dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, that began in 2010.

The Costa Rica delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister, Manuel Gonzalez, while the Nicaraguan will be headed by Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Arguello.

In 2010, Costa Rica filed the lawsuit accusing Nicaragua of an alleged invasion of the small border territory known as Isla Calero and the alleged illegal dredging of the San Juan river and creating a canal to the Caribbean Sea, causing environmental damage to the area.

In 2011, Nicaragua sued Costa Rica for “gross environmental damage” during the construction of the controversial Ruta 1856 (La Trocha). The trail road was Costa Rica’s response in the event Nicaragua closed of navigation of the San Juan river, cutting off a number of Costa Rican communities connected solely by the river.

Both sides claim the territory, only 3 square kilometers, is within their borders. In Costa Rica the area is called Isla Portillos, in Nicaragua, Harbour Head.

Two weeks ago, Costa Rica, with the permission of the International Court, began repairing the environmental damage caused by the neighbour to the north.

In Nicaragua, on Tuesday, Eden Pastora (Commander Zero), who headed the dredging work for Nicaragua and at times being accused by his own government for acting without authorizaiton, said on Nicaraguan television that “it is Costa Rica now causing environmental damage, by bringing into the area foreign material (stones) and performing the work now, ahead of the Court hearings.”

Pastora, expressing total confidence in a Court ruling in favor of Nicaragua, mocked the government of Costa Rica, not being able to remember the name of Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís, requiring the help of his interviewer, saying “I would like to see the face of the Chinchilla (reference to former president Laura Chinchilla) of today”.

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