In Search of the Elusive Sea: the Bolivia-Chile Dispute Before the International Court of Justice

Author:
Javier A. González Vega
Catedrático de Derecho Internacional Público y Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad de Oviedo (Professor, International Law and International Relations, University of Oviedo) jvega@uniovi.es

Abstract:
This article addresses the study of the dispute between Bolivia and Chile regarding the obligation to negotiate an access to the Pacific Ocean, focusing on the judgment on the merits of 1 October 2018. It starts by considering the stands taken by both Bolivia and Chile in the successive phases of the procedure, leading to the defining of restrictively the object of the controversy made by the Court in its previous decision on admissibility (preliminary objection) of 24 September 2015. Further, the analysis of the 2018 judgment reveals a Court’s approach inspired by a formalist and voluntarist conception of International Law, unable to overlooking the slightest legal significance of the numerous diplomatic exchanges between the parties over almost a century of contacts. Contrary to this angle, it is argued that a more flexible approach to the elements of the case, paying due attention to

the principle of good faith, might have drawn diametrically opposed conclusions and the consequent recognition of a legal obligation incumbent to Chile.

Index:
1. INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. LA «REIVINDICACIÓN MARÍTIMA» BOLIVIANA: CONTENIDO Y NATURALEZA JURÍDICA.— 3. EL PLANTEAMIENTO DE CHILE.—3.1. La libertad de acción de los Estados y la seguridad jurídica.—3.2. La eventual implicación de Perú: «La puerta y el candado».—4. LA DISCUTIBLE CONCRECIÓN DEL OBJETO DE LA CONTROVERSIA EN LA SENTENCIA DE 2015.—5. LA RESPUESTA DE LA CORTE EN SU SENTENCIA DE 2018: UNA NEGATIVA PREVISIBLE.—6. LA POSIBILIDAD DE UN ENFOQUE ALTERNATIVO.—6.1. ¿Una estrategia litigiosa distinta por parte de Bolivia?— 6.2. Un tratamiento diferente de la cuestión por parte de la CIJ.—7. ¡NO, NO ES EL FINAL!: A MODO DE CONCLUSIÓN.

Keywords:
Bolivia-Chile; good faith; International Court of Justice; maritime claim; obligation to negotiate; pactum de contrahendo;

Issue:
REDI Vol. 71 2 2019

Section:
Studies

Pages:
75-99

DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.17103/redi.71.2.2019.1.03

Read the article in:

Read the article online

Buy the magazine