Latin America pins hopes on Hague to settle scores

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The Panamerican Highway towards Chile, a few kilometers south of Lima on January 24, 2014Call them symbolic or the stuff of chest-thumping national pride, but a string of rumbling Latin American territorial disputes are set to take center stage at The Hague. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s supreme judicial body, cannot impose binding rulings, but its decisions are generally respected through prior agreements between the opposing sides. At least six countries in the region are involved in legal action at the ICJ, most of them over disputes that date back decades and which have threatened to boil over on numerous occasions. After five years of legal wrangling, the ICJ is to rule on January 27 on a contentious Pacific Ocean maritime dispute between Chile and Peru.