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Top U.N. court awards Costa Rica territory claimed by Nicaragua

FILE PHOTO: Nicaraguan protesters stake their claim to Isla Portillos, a restricted swath of land near Costa Rica and Nicaragua's border, as a team of Costa Rican environment experts and representatives of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands inspect the area for environmental damage April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/File Photo


By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Nicaragua was ordered by the UN's top court on Friday to remove a military base from Costa Rican territory in a ruling seeking to end a decade-long dispute between the Central American neighbours.

Judges at the International Court of Justice found that Costa Rica has sovereignty over the "whole northern part of Isla Portillas, including the coast", but excluding Harbour Head Lagoon.

As part of the settlement, the court drew a new maritime boundary between the states, who have had rival claims since 2002, when Nicaragua published maps detailing oil concessions, some of which were in waters claimed by Costa Rica.

Costa Rica had filed the suit in 2014, asking the court to determine its borders with Nicaragua in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean.

In a separate case heard at the court earlier Friday, Nicaragua was ordered by the UN's top court on Friday to pay its neighbour Costa Rica nearly $379,000 dollars in reparations for environmental damage to parts of its wetlands.

The court said Costa Rica should be compensated for the damage caused, the cost of environmental restoration, expenses and interest. The amount must be paid by April 2.

(Editing by Anthony Deutsch, Editing by William Maclean)

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