Chile's legal team replied to Bolivia's maritime claim and allegations of isolationism at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the Netherlands, Thursday. The team, which is headed by Claudio Grossman the former Dean of College of Law at American University, also said they are not considering any negotiations on their current territorial status.
In 2013, Bolivia presented a lawsuit at the ICJ to oblige Chile to negotiate in good will, sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean which it lost after the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).
Grossman told the court, in the second of four rounds of hearings, at The Hague that Bolivia's "claim is unsustainable, and it must be dismissed in its entirety."
He added: "In 1904 Chile and Bolivia completed a treaty of peace and harmony which fully settled all outstanding territorial issues between our two states."
"Chile also recognized in favor of Bolivia, in perpetuity, the fullest and most unrestricted rights of commercial transit in its territory and its Pacific ports," he said, citing the Peace and Friendship Agreement of 1904, which was signed by both countries.
On Twitter, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera also showed his support for the legal team’s argument.
“Chile’s position in The Hague is solid and based on juridical and historical arguments. Our borders with Bolivia were clearly established in the 1904 treaty, validly celebrated and fully in force and which Chile complies and will enforce,” Piñera tweeted from the Presidential palace.
However, according to Bolivia, the treaty was signed under duress, and it should not be seen as binding, they also cited several unfulfilled offers of a new settlement from Chile as proof they are obliged to negotiate.
To this claim, Grossman stated that La Paz: "repeatedly broke off negotiations and terminated diplomatic relations. Doing justice cannot be ... treating Chile as an isolationist villain on the basis of an entirely uncertain and misleading accusation."
Bolivia’s lawyers will present their response and arguments on Monday, during the third round of hearings. Chile will be able to give their counterarguments on Wednesday, after which the ICJ is expected to produce an unappealable and binding ruling by the end of the year.
On Monday Bolivia presented an expansive economic and legal case to the ICJ's judges stating that the country once had 400 kilometers (248 miles) of Pacific coastline, which was accessed via the Atacama desert. "Today it has none" of those rights according to former Bolivian president Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze.
Current Bolivian President Evo Morales has headed his countries delegation to the count. On Monday, he highlighted the significance of Bolivia's claim, stating that the lack of sea access had imposed "limitations" on the growth of the economy of Bolivia.
“Bolivia was born with the sea, and both are inseparable. Since its forced closure, our country has suffered limitations in its growth and development,” Morales said, at the end of the first day of hearings.
The two countries have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1978 and Chile has also filed a case against Bolivia over the Silala waterway.