The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website], the UN's highest court, issued a ruling [opinion, PDF] establishing a new maritime boundary between Peru and Chile [BBC backgrounders] on Monday. The ICJ granted [press release, PDF] Peru some parts of the Pacific Ocean formerly controlled by Chile but left Chile prosperous coastal fishing grounds. The decision ends disputes over the 14,670 square miles of abundant fishing waterways. Peru had wanted the maritime board to extend perpendicularly from where the land borders of the two countries meet the ocean, while Chile wanted the border to run parallel to the equator. The ICJ's decision represents a compromise by extending the border parallel to the equator for 80 nautical miles from the coastline and then continuing the border out to the southwest. The ICJ's ruling is final and cannot be appealed, and the presidents of both Peru and Chile have promised [AP report] to follow the decision of the court.
The ICJ began hearings [JURIST report] in December 2012 regarding the longtime border dispute between Chile and Peru. Peru first filed its application [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. Peru brought the case before the ICJ since the court resolved a similar dispute [JURIST report] between Nicaragua and Honduras in October 2007. The case between Chile and Peru is the latest in a series of disputes regarding the boundaries of Latin American countries brought before the ICJ pursuant to the American Treaty on Pacific Settlement [text].