Chile rejects court`s role in sea access row with Bolivia

President Michelle Bachelet said Monday she will seek to have the International Criminal Court of Justice declared an inappropriate venue for settling landlocked Bolivia`s demand for access to the Pacific through Chile.

AFP| Updated: Jul 08, 2014, 08:15 AM IST

Santiago: President Michelle Bachelet said Monday she will seek to have the International Criminal Court of Justice declared an inappropriate venue for settling landlocked Bolivia`s demand for access to the Pacific through Chile.
"I have made the decision to lodge an appeal against the ICJ`s authority (in the case) to start with, by presenting preliminary objections on that court`s jurisdiction," Bachelet said in a televised address.

Bolivia -- South America`s poorest country -- became landlocked after losing a four-year war against Chile at the end of the 19th century, forfeiting territory and its access to the sea.

The two countries have had only limited diplomatic relations since 1978.

After a number of fruitless negotiations with Santiago over the issue, La Paz lodged a complaint to the ICJ in April 2013.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz is in Paris working on documents for the case which will be taken to the Hague before a July 15 deadline.

According to the calendar set out by the ICJ, after Chile responds to Bolivia`s claim, a second round of written arguments will follow and, in theory, a public hearing at The Hague.

A recent judgement by the ICJ gave Peru some of the maritime territory that had been under Chile`s control since the war.