By Stéphanie Chuffart, Visiting Fellow
It was announced Tuesday, September 17, 2013, that the case brought by Ecuador before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding a dispute over Colombia’s aerial spraying of toxic herbicides on coca leaf plantations near, at, and across its border with Ecuador, causing damage to both the population and the environment of the Ecuador, was removed from the ICJ’s List at the request of Ecuador following an Agreement reached by the two Parties on September 9, 2013.
The Agreement notably establishes an exclusion zone in which Colombia will not conduct aerial spraying operations, creates a Joint Commission to ensure that spraying operations outside that zone have not caused herbicides to drift into Ecuador, sets out operational parameters for Colombia’s spraying programme, provides for ongoing exchanges of information between the parties, and establishes a dispute settlement mechanism.
The Aerial Herbicide Spraying Case was one of only two environmental cases before the ICJ (with the Whaling in the Antarctic case (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)). We are undoubtedly pleased that the Parties settled their dispute but can’t help regret that the ICJ did not get to decide the case and develop its jurisprudence regarding transboundary environmental damage!
Press release available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/presscom/index.php?pr=2473&p1=6&p2=1&lang=en (September 17, 2013).