Carolina Olarte: No legal basis for continental shelf claim

STRATEGY and very solid defensive arguments, what Colombia has to defend national sovereignty on the Southwest Caribbean continental shelf claimed by Nicaragua in The Hague is what the national team will present in the next oral sessions.

With a renewed team of agents and associate agents who still maintain their leadership Eduardo Valencia Ospina, who has been part of the Colombian group of international lawyers since the beginning of this long trial, recalibrated the strategy to answer two very technical legal questions asked by the International Court of Justice before Nicaragua’s claim to claim a large stake. The maritime area that affects not only our country, but also Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica, who have expressed their concerns to the UN.

Carolina Olarte Bácares is one of two women in the empowered Colombian squad and the Netherlands’ appointed ambassador. In dialogue with EL NUEVO SIGLO, the so far dean of the law school at the University of Javeriana and expert on international law, arbitration and human rights, he explained what Colombia will disclose at the hearings next week.

NEW CENTURY. – How optimistic is Colombia about the oral hearings to be held in The Hague on 5-9 December?

CAROLINA OLARTE BÁCARES. This is a case that represents a highly complex legal and technical scientific level. But we have a very strong strategy and defensive arguments.

ENS. – Is there a risk of losing territory or causing any damage to Colombian sovereignty or the continental shelf in the Caribbean due to this third claim of Nicaragua?

COB. In this case, Nicaragua claims a portion of the Colombian continental shelf in the Southwest Caribbean. Colombia has historically enjoyed a peaceful and uninterrupted existence, and the claim of Nicaragua will undoubtedly affect national sovereignty. However, the absolute certainty that Nicaragua lacks legal and scientific basis helps us, and these elements are therefore part of our defense in The Hague courts.

ENS. – Do these new Nicaraguan claims only concern Colombia or do they affect the territorial sea or the agreements our country has signed with third countries in the Caribbean?

COB. – It is important to emphasize that this claim affects not only Colombia but the entire southwestern Caribbean region. Actually, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica have all expressed concern over the Nicaraguan claims and have informed the UN Secretary-General.

ENS. – Faced with the legal line of defense brought to the International Court of Justice by the previous team of Colombian agents and associate agents, is there any change in this relay run by the Petro government?

COB. – Above all, this new group of people, for whom we act as agents and auxiliary agents, is diverse and comprehensive, emphasizing knowledge and expertise in international law from scientific and technical aspects. Additionally, for the first time today, there are two women on the team, one of whom is Raizal, who represents and embodies the demands of communities and peoples in the archipelago and the Caribbean. Finally, on the occasion of two specific questions raised by the Court for these hearings, the team had to readjust strategy. Much of what has been worked on before will of course become part of what will be used in these hearings.

ENS. – Other countries, including Nicaragua, held out for many years with agents and auxiliary agents before The Hague. Has Colombia’s position and argumentative base been weakened in some way by this change in the defense team?

COB. – Not at all. Rather, it is important to emphasize that the State’s defense rests with the group of agents responsible for communication and representation before the Court and for guiding and articulating the defense strategy. This defense is also supported by an unwavering group of international lawyers. It is worth noting that our representative, Eduardo Valencia Ospina, has been part of international lawyers from the very beginning and therefore in no way represents a rupture that would endanger the development and changes necessary for a case that has lasted for many years. All of the above, together with the participation of the two assistant agents and advisory teams, undoubtedly strengthens the defense before the Court of sovereign interests of Colombia.

ENS. – What is the role of Raizal representatives in this new lawsuit filed by Managua?

COB. – The presence of assistant agent Elizabeth Taylor is essential to gather Raizales’ emotions so that they are represented in all instances of this process. Various meetings were held with the representatives of Raizal in order to be informed about the process, to respond to their concerns and to take note of their contributions. In conversations with the congregation, it became clear that the focus of the defense in this case and at the hearings in December was two very technical legal questions.

ENS. – If we overcome this third demand, will Colombia no longer be definitively outside the jurisdiction of the Bogotá Pact?

COB. – Indeed, Colombia dissolved the Bogotá Pact and the withdrawal became final a year later, in 2012. Then Colombia would not be subject to new allegations before this court.

ENS. – How do you meet the embassy position?

COB. – With the great responsibility and enthusiasm of being able to provide a quality service to the Colombian State. In the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, especially in The Hague, a strategic bilateral agenda is concentrated, along with a significant number of multilateral bodies and jurisdictions of international law. The Hague has not only the International Court of Justice, but also the International Criminal Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (of which I am a member), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and all other institutions. It is of great importance to Colombia. Therefore, it is a great honor and responsibility to serve our country for the fulfillment of important diplomatic missions that will be my responsibility.

How did you leave the Javeriana dean of law?

COB. –The Javeriana School of Legal Sciences, which I have directed so far as Dean, is having a wonderful moment, thanks, among other things, to the recent renewal of the high-quality accreditation of our law program for a maximum period of ten years. In addition, it continues with some internationalization and ongoing research strategies that directly strengthen the important teaching activities of our faculty. Likewise, a comprehensive curriculum that offers early victories and is prepared to consolidate a participatory and sophisticated process of academic transformation that will provide new answers to the challenges this era change presents for us is in a moment of reflection. Finally, it remains in the hands of a high-quality faculty and administrative body with broad capabilities to continue to fulfill the Mission of the University and, in particular, to accompany our students and alumni who are central to our profession. to continue to exercise the right in the interest of the continued transformation of our society.

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