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ICJ begins hearings in Argentina-Uruguay paper mill dispute

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] began hearings [press release, PDF] Monday in a treaty dispute [case materials] between Argentina and Uruguay. Argentina argues [Buenos Aires Herald report] that a pulp mill built on the Uruguay side of the Uruguay river, which divides the two countries, violates the 1975 Statute of the River Uruguay [text, PDF], a treaty calling for consultation and agreement between the two countries regarding activities that affect the river. Argentina claims that pollutants from the plant are causing extreme harm [El Pais report, in Spanish] to the river and surrounding environment and that Uruguay failed to obtain Argentina's approval before starting the project. Transcripts of oral arguments, which conclude October 2, will be posted to the ICJ website daily. The ICJ is not expected to issue a ruling until 2010.

In 2007, the ICJ refused [JURIST report] to order Argentina to prevent demonstrators protesting the plant from blocking traffic on roads and bridges into the country from Uruguay. In 2006, the ICJ denied [JURIST report] Argentina's request that Uruguay be ordered to stop construction on the plants.

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