The International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in the Hague, the Netherlands, has voted in favor of taking on an ongoing dispute filed by Nicaragua against Colombia.
The spat is over a 75,000 kilometer squared patch of the Caribbean, consisting of seven keys and the San Andrés islands archipelago.
“The bilateral agreements between Nicaragua and Colombia won’t be subjected to a third party decision and should be resolved through direct mediation between both parties, in accordance with international law,” President Juan Manuel Santos commented in response to the decision, voted in by 14 votes to two, BBC Mundo reports.
Nicaragua initially filed the case on November 26 2013, stating that Colombia continued to breach maritime law by operating in Nicaraguan territory. Limits had previously been established by the court in 2012.
Colombia formally withdrew from ICJ jurisdiction during November 2014 by pulling out of the Bogotá Pact, a 1948 treaty established between 21 Western Hemisphere countries. However, the court determined on Thursday that Colombia could not retroactively free itself from the treaty.
There is also the possibility that the UN could be involved in the case, daily El Tiempo reports.
San Andrés remains a popular holiday destination for Colombians, famed for its crystal clear waters and sandy beaches.