The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] began hearings on Monday regarding a longtime border dispute between Chile and Peru [BBC profiles]. Peru first filed its application [press release, PDF; JURIST report] with the ICJ in 2008 alleging that Chile refused to enter into negotiations over the disputed maritime border and requesting that the ICJ resolve the dispute. At issue [AFP report] is a 15,000 square mile triangle of the Pacific Ocean, which Chile currently controls. Bolivia also plans to send a delegation to the ICJ and plans its own lawsuit against Chile. A decision by the 15-judge panel is not expected until mid-2013 at the earliest, and it cannot be appealed once issued.
The decision by the ICJ will be the latest in a series of decisions resolving border disputes and the outcome could have broad repercussions in the region. Last month the ICJ resolved [JURIST report] a long running dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua, leading Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to question whether the ICJ's verdicts would be respected.The ICJ also issued a ruling [JURIST report] in 2009 resolving a dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.