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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

ICJ rejects Uruguay bid to end paper mill protest blockades by Argentines
Natalie Hrubos at 11:05 AM ET

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] Tuesday denied a request by Uruguay [case materials, in Spanish] to force Argentina to put a stop to protestors blocking major roads and bridges between the two nations in an effort to halt Uruguay's construction of two paper mills along the river that separates the states [ASIL case backgrounder]. The court, voting 14-1, ruled [order, PDF; press release] that at present the blockades have not caused an "imminent risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights of Uruguay." Uruguay, however, says its tourism and trade industries will suffer drastically if the blockades remain in place.

In July 2006, the ICJ voted against forcing Uruguay to stop construction [JURIST report] of the two papers mills, saying then that Argentina failed to prove that the construction of the mills "constitutes a present threat of irreparable economic and social damage." Argentina claims Uruguay's construction of the paper mills breaches the international Statute of the River Uruguay, which calls for prior consultation and mutual agreement about actions that could affect the river. Both countries signed the treaty in 1975. Uruguay has a significant economic stake in the $1.9 billion project, which officials hope will create 600 jobs and increase exports by 15 percent. Reuters has more.

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