We had a chance to speak to the Minister about the ICJ campaign in the Capital and more importantly how he views our chances with winning the claim. We mentioned the fact that following a 2012 ruling at the ICJ, Colombia has rejected the ICJ and reasserted control over seas it lost to Nicaragua at the ICJ. Nicaragua had attempted to take its claim back to the ICJ. Saldivar said that no case is the same and does not believe our territorial waters can be affected and the ICJ in his opinion, is final.
Honorable John Saldivar: “I am very pro going to the ICJ. My personal view has always been that that is the way to solve the issue.”
Jose Sanchez: “Have you attempted to look at it from a Maritime perspective? Are you aware of what is happening with Colombia and Nicaragua? They went to the ICJ and had a ruling several years ago and they are going back again because they are not satisfied in the way it was ruled over the territorial waters.”
Honorable John Saldivar: “I have no difficulty at all with respect to our territorial seas. The law of the sea will be followed and that is the instruction that the court has that it must follow the established laws with respect to treaties, with respect to boundaries in the Maritime area.”
Jose Sanchez: “In the case of those two particular countries waters were taken away from Colombia and Colombia has decided that it will no longer respect the ICJ.”
Honorable John Saldivar: “There is no basis for that in Belize, there is no similarity with respect to the cases, there is no basis for the court to take away any of our territorial seas. I believe that the information is out there and it’s a matter of getting the information, to attend the various forums that have been taking place. I don’t know that there is any scarcity of information on the ICJ, it is left to individual to get it. It has been happening quite casually within my constituency but I can say that starting next week we are going to be having our regular quarterly neighborhood meetings at which the ICJ committee will be invited to make presentations and so the people of Belmopan will also get an opportunity again. I believe there was a meeting a couple weeks ago also held in Belmopan in which we had an opportunity to hear from our citizenry but I have been in close contact with my people.”
The ICJ often caters to countries with little access to the sea. Colombia formally withdrew from ICJ jurisdiction in 2014 when it rejected the Bogotá Pact, a 1948 treaty between 21 Western Hemisphere countries establishing appropriate channels for territorial disputes. The ICJ determined that Colombia could not retroactively free itself from the obligations of that treaty.