Squire Patton Boggs Secures Victory for the Republic of Colombia in ICJ Case Against Nicaragua

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Squire Patton Boggs partner Rodman Bundy was one of the lead counsel for the Republic of Colombia that achieved a victory in a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning The Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 Nautical Miles from Nicaragua’s Coast, with the ICJ judgment issued on 13 July 2023.

In 2012, the ICJ decided sovereignty over a number of islands in the Southwest Caribbean in dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia in favor of Colombia and also delimited the maritime boundary between the two States out to a distance of 200 nautical miles from Nicaragua’s coast. During the following year, Nicaragua instituted a new case for the delimitation of its alleged extended continental shelf between the parties beyond 200 nautical miles from its coast, in areas that the ICJ had not delimited in 2012.

Colombia objected to Nicaragua’s claim. The main legal issue involved the question whether a State is entitled to claim an extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its coast or baselines that extends into the 200 nautical mile zone (EEZ) of another State.

Rodman Bundy commented: “This was a question of first impression that had not previously been subject to judicial determination. On this question, the ICJ upheld Colombia’s submissions that such an extension was not permissible under customary international law. As a result, the ICJ rejected all of Nicaragua’s submissions. The ICJ’s judgment has far-reaching implications—not simply for the Parties to the case, but for coastal States generally.”

Colombia was represented by a team of lead counsel that included Rodman Bundy, Sir Michael Wood, KCMG, KC, Professor Michael Reisman, Professor Jean-Marc Thouvenin and Professor Laurence Boisson de Chazournes.

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