Argentina institutes proceedings against Uruguay in ICJ 04 May 2006
Argentina has brought a case against Uruguay in the ICJ regarding alleged breaches of obligations under a treaty between the two states concerning the River Uruguay.

River UruguayOn Thursday 4 May 2006, Argentina seised the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of a dispute between itself and Uruguay concerning alleged breaches by the latter of obligations incumbent upon it under the Statute of the River Uruguay. The treaty was signed by Argentina and Uruguay on 26 February 1975.

The purpose of that Statute is “to establish the joint machinery necessary for the optimum and rational utilisation of the River Uruguay”, which is shared by the two States and partially constitutes their joint boundary. In its Application, Argentina charges the Government of Uruguay with having, in October 2003, “unilaterally authorised . . . the construction of a pulp mill near the town of Fray Bentos . . . without complying with the obligatory prior notification and consultation procedure” provided for by the 1975 Statute. 

Argentina states that, despite its repeated protests, both directly to the Government of Uruguay and to the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay, “the Uruguayan Government has persisted in its refusal to follow the prescribed procedures”. According to the Application, Uruguay has in fact “aggravated the dispute” by subsequently authorising the construction in the same area of a second pulp mill and of a port for that mill. 

Argentina also filed a request for the indication of provisional measures, in which it explains that “the continued construction of the works in question under present conditions will significantly aggravate their harmful economic and social impact”. The Argentine Government further states that the harmful consequences of these activities would be “such that they could not simply be made good by means of financial compensation or some other material provision”.

Argentina accordingly requests the Court, pending final judgement in these proceedings, to indicate provisional measures requiring Uruguay to, inter alia, suspend forthwith all authorisations for construction of the mills in question and to refrain from any other action which might aggravate or extend the dispute which is the subject-matter of the present proceedings. 

The ICJ will hold public hearings on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 June 2006 in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague. To see the schedule for the hearings or to find out further information about attending the proceedings, please click on the links below.
Press release
Schedule for the hearings

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