Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Chile and the Pact of Bogotá

Following up on yesterday's post about Chile and Peru, recent controversies surrounding the International Court of Justice stem from the Pact of Bogotá, which requires signatories to resolve their differences peacefully, with the ICJ as a potential ultimate arbiter.

A key question is what types of disputes one state can require another to mediate. It can become a reductio ad absurdum, where states could demand changes to all boundaries, going back centuries, so that virtually anything can be contested. In the case of Bolivia and Chile, the boundaries have been well set with a series of treaties.

Here is the text of the pact. For the Bolivia-Chile dispute, Article 6 is important:

ARTICLE VI. The aforesaid procedures, furthermore, may not be applied to matters already settled by arrangement between the parties, or by arbitral award or by decision of an international court, or which are governed by agreements or treaties in force on the date of the conclusion of the present Treaty.

In 2011, Chile noted its concern about Bolivia's reservations with the treaty, which are as follows.

The Delegation of Bolivia makes a reservation with regard to Article VI, in as much as it considers that pacific procedures may also be applied to controversies arising from matters settled by arrangement between the Parties, when the said arrangement affects the vital interests of a state.
And further:

To file an objection to the reservation made by the Plurinational State of Bolivia with regard
to Article VI of said American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, “Pact of Bogotá,” and declares that, in accordance with the principles of international law, this objection precludes the entry into force of that Treaty between the Republic of Chile and the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

Unless I am missing something, what this means it that Chile will not enter into negotiation or mediation unless it is voluntary.


Otto 10:41 AM  

Correct. Unless both parties agree to use the ICJ, the case doesn't happen.

Note that this might become a problem for 'Chelle in next year's election if Chile loses, or at least feels as though it's lost something. Golborne (most likely) can use a strategy of "Bachelet agreed to take the Peru maritime case to La Haya, if she hadn't we'd still have that territory".

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