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ICJ hears Romania-Ukraine dispute over Black Sea resource rights

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website; JURIST news archive] is holding hearings [ICJ press release] this week in a border dispute between Romania and Ukraine [JURIST news archives] over resource rights to the Black Sea. Oral arguments in the case [ICJ materials] began Tuesday, when Bogdan Aurescu, director general of Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry, argued that the Ukrainian government was unfairly trying to use tiny Serpent Island to expand the area of the Black Sea available to the Ukraine for exploitation. He said that because Ukraine inherited the land from the Soviet Union, which illegally annexed it, the island should not be considered in fixing a boundary. The court must decide on a starting point for the border and on a methodology for drawing it. AP has more.

The two countries signed a treaty [PDF text] in 1997 agreeing not to exploit the Black Sea reserves while negotiating the boundary. After six years of unsuccessful diplomatic talks, Romania sued Ukraine [JURIST report] in 2004. Last year, the ICJ settled a border dispute [JURIST report] between Nicaragua and Honduras by granting possession of four small Caribbean islands to Honduras. Disputes between several other Latin American nations remain pending before the ICJ [JURIST reports].

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