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Nicaragua Files Proceedings Against Costa Rica Over Road Project

Nicaragua has filed suit at the United Nations' highest court, seeking to stop Costa Rica from building a road along the banks of the San Juan river separating the two countries.

Nicaragua filed the proceedings Thursday at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, saying the construction work is resulting in grave environmental consequences and violating national sovereignty. Nicaragua also argues that Costa Rica's actions threaten to destroy the San Juan river and its fragile ecosystem, along with the adjacent biosphere reserves and internationally protected wetlands. The government in Managua also wants Costa Rica to cease construction and pay for damages.

The two Central American nations have had previous disputes over their border region.

Back in March, the court ordered both countries to keep their security forces out of a disputed area along the river. Two months earlier, Costa Rica appealed to the judicial body to order Nicaraguan personnel away from the mouth of the river and to halt dredging operations there to avoid environmental damage.

Costa Rica said the operations were illegally set up on its territory, while Nicaragua claimed it had long exercised sovereignty over the disputed area. The court, however, did not order Nicaragua to cease work and rejected Costa Rica's argument that the work was damaging to the environment.

It is not known when the court will issue a decision on the lawsuit filed Thursday. The court's rulings cannot be appealed.