The International Court of Justice is reading its judgment on the pulp mills case after having been analyzing it for four years, since May 2006. So far, it has established that noise and visual pollution were not brought about by the paper mill Finnish company Botnia. Activists in Gualeguaychú are watching the ruling live on TV screens set in Arroyo Verde, where they are gathering.
The reading began at 10:00am sharp. An interpreter is simultaneously translating the ruling, for it is being read in French and in English. People have been flooding the streets during the night, and some neighbours even arrived yesterday to the chosen spot. Picketers are also present.
The International Court of Justice has so far established that no visual or noise pollution was brought about by Botnia paper mill, as well as sentencing that it is no responsibility of the Court to rule on the company's bad smells or its impact on tourism.
Judge Peter Tomka said that the Court "is no witnessing any strong arguments for the demands to be supported", when referring to Argentina's accusation of the pulp mill harming the environment.
Tomka as well specified that "no article in the River Uruguay Treaty tackles ‘the bad smells' issue" and, due to this fact, Argentina's demand of this issue and on the tourism impact is not to be taken into account. "Argentina hasn't shown any strong signs of this types of pollution," the ICJ ruling went on.
As for Uruguay and the Treaty, the Court ruled the country had violated the 7th article, for it had allowed Botnia to operate in the area without informing it to the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay (CARU in Spanish).
Montevideo's administration was sentenced to have not complied with the Treaty, as Argentina it fact has, according to the International Court of Justice's ruling.
The magistrates who form the Court assure they are not to rule of specific issues such as the noise, visual pollution and the bad smells demand. A negotiation stage was suggested for both countries.
As Uruguay has violated the 7th article of the River Uruguay Treaty, it was highlighted that the country had not informed the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay of the paper mill's operation, as this article specified "any project" must be reported to the CARU.
"Uruguay had not reported on Botnia's projects before it had started to function alongside River Uruguay. It has violated its informing obligation," the Court sentenced.
Argentine and Uruguayan delagations are listening to the International Court of Justice's ruling. The national delegation includes officials such as Ambassador Susana Ruiz Cerruti, escorted by Argentine Ambassador to the Netherlands Santos Goñi Marenco and National Institute of Foreign Service's head Horacio Basabe.
Leer: 1975 Statute of the River Uruguay
Leer: • Pulp Mills case: a chronology