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Argentina: International Court Rules in Paper Mill Conflict with Uruguay

The International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled on the conflict between Argentina and Uruguay about the latter's construction of a large Finnish-owned paper mill on the Uruguay River, shared by both countries. Argentina states Uruguay's unilateral authorization violated treaties between the countries and that such venture polluted the river. The Court stated that Argentina did not prove the mill contaminates the river, therefore it will still operate. However, it also stated that Uruguay violated the treaty between both countries and that it allowed the mill's construction despite negotiations between the countries were underway.

Photo of Paper Mill by Gonzak and used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo of Paper Mill by Gonzak and used under a Creative Commons license.

At the blog Espacios Protegidos [es] (Protected Spaces), Walter Raymond affirms the result was the worst scenario expected for both countries, since it condemns them to the “punishment of reaching an agreement”. Raymond refers to the need to reach an agreement for the control of the Finnish paper mill, and to guarantee the future compliance of agreements regarding the Uruguay river. A similar point of view was presented at Blog de Abel [es], where they also make a summary of the ruling.

On Twitter, in general, we can say there were many expressions of dissatisfaction about the ruling. While the Court had considered Uruguay did not follow the treaties, they also stated the ruling would not have greater effects in practice.

Twitter user (@Ozzono) wonders:

Y para que existen estos tratados, si pueden ser incumplidos sin mayores consecuencias ?

“what do we have these treaties for, if they can be overlooked with no serious consequences?”

Raztez Metaemigrante (@metaemigrante) writes:

no sabia que los tratados internacionales eran solo una sugerencia

I didn't know international treaties were a mere suggestion.

(@Labateq) comments on the ruling:

The declaration by the Court of this breach constitutes appropriate satisfaction – Translation: Moral Champions.

On the other hand, Sebastián González (@sebagon) writes:

Ahora seguro que tanto Argentinos como Uruguayos creen que #LaHaya les dio la razón :D

Most likely, now Argentinas and Uruguayans will both believe La Haya ruled in their favor.

Both nations must comply with the ruling. In the future, it's expected the ruling and the obligation to agree on a common framework for the use of Uruguay River will prevent these situations from happening again. Also, it is still yet to be resolved what will happen with the bridge between Argentina and Uruguay, located in the city of Gualeguaychú, which has been blocked for three years by Argentinean environmentalists. They have said they will not declare the strike to be over.

  • Gus

    The fact is that Argentina itself is the biggest polluter of the Uruguay River, such hypocrisy.
    While the bridge blockade has damaged local economies and frustrated people who have to drive hundreds of miles (kilometers) out of their way to cross the river .
    The point is that the Argentinian government permits this blockade, in order to help the Buenos Aires port to compete against Montevideo’s that’s acting as an important hub for the whole region in detriment of Buenos Aires port, that is expensive and dangerous for big carriers. The Argentinian Government didn’t show any shyness in the repression of other protests.

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