November 5th, 2013 (AFP & InsideCostaRica.com) Nicaragua described Costa Rica’s construction of a road on its border parallel to the Rio San Juan as an “environmental nightmare” at the opening of the latest hearing over ongoing border disputes between the countries before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
The road is known officially as Route 1856 but has been nicknamed “La Trocha” by Costa Ricans.
“Costa Rica has embarked on the construction of an extremely damaging road,” Nicaragua’s representative to the ICJ, Carlos Arguello said in English, calling the work an “environmental nightmare.”
Arguello said that Costa Rica “has not done any studies to mitigate environmental damage.”
The Nicaraguan delegation at the hearing showed videos of large metal pipes that appear to have been broken, obstructing the Rio San Juan.
Arguello also said that Costa Rica’s own laws prohibit the construction of a road so close to a river.
Nicaragua believes that the construction of the 130 kilometer road has caused erosion and sedimentation in the Rio San Juan, which acts as a natural border between the two countries. Nicaragua is asking the ICJ to issue injunctions to stop the discharge of sediment into the river.
Costa Rica’s government, meanwhile, denies the accusations, saying the road is a work of importance for the economic and social development of its northern territory, and does not affect the flow of the river.
Less than a month ago, the two countries were before the ICJ at the request of Costa Rica, which claims Nicaragua violated its territorial sovereignty and caused damage in an area known as Portillos, which both countries claim as their territory.
Costa Rica will have a chance to respond to Nicaragua’s allegations tomorrow.