International Court of Justice sets date for ruling on Chile, Bolivia sea dispute

SANTIAGO – The International Court of Justice will announce its decision next month in a dispute between Chile and Bolivia about access to the Pacific Ocean, the Chilean government said on Wednesday.

The Hague will hold a hearing on Oct. 1 at the Peace Palace to announce its findings in the Bolivian lawsuit filed in 2013 that seeks to force Chile to negotiate an exit for Bolivia to the sea.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Chile “reiterates its attachment to international law and, in particular, its respect for existing limits treaties.

The President of the Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will initiate a process of coordination and consultation with the different political and institutional actors, in order to promote a State policy and national unity.

Bolivia takes sea access dispute with Chile to International Court of Justice

The case in the international court revolves around a disputed 380 kilometer coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Relations between Bolivia and Chile have been historically strained over the territory dispute, which was instigated after Bolivia was defeated in the War of the Pacific 1879/1883, leaving the country landlocked. Bolivia’s ally Peru also lost some southern territory to Chile, which occupied Lima for a couple of years.

For Bolivia, the only landlocked country in the world to maintain a navy, the disputed territory will grant access to the sea to enhance its exports of natural gas and minerals. For Chile, the world’s largest exporter of copper, the region contains some of its biggest mines.

Chile made ‘secret offer’ to Bolivia in sea dispute

Chile argues that its border with Bolivia was settled in a 1904 treaty, but Professor Payam Akhavan, a lawyer representing Bolivia, said that, despite this, Chile had made repeated pledges to find a solution to the dispute.

It remains unclear which way the ICJ will rule when it hands down a decision.