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World Court Digest

I. Substantive International Law - First Part
1.3. Estoppel and Acquiescence

¤ Land, Island and
Maritime Frontier Dispute
(El Salvador/Honduras)
Application to Intervene,
Judgment of 13 September 1990,
I.C.J. Reports 1990, p. 92

[pp. 118-119] Nicaragua has presented a particular argument whereby it would apparently be dispensed from producing evidence of the existence of the legal interests on which it relies, by reason of the assertions of the Parties. This argument has at times been denominated "equitable estoppel" and at times "recognition"; in its clearest form it was put forward at the hearings as follows :
"In the submission of the Government of Nicaragua the assertions of fact and law on the part of El Salvador and Honduras in the course of these proceedings constitute recognition of the existence of major legal interests pertaining to Nicaragua which form an inherent part of the parcel of legal questions placed in front of the Chamber by the Special Agreement."

So far as Nicaragua relies on estoppel, the Chamber will only say that it sees no evidence of some essential elements required by estoppel: a statement or representation made by one party to another and reliance upon it by that other party to his detriment or to the advantage of the party making it. The indications to be found in the pleadings of the views of the Parties as to the existence or nature of Nicaraguan interests within or without the Gulf, no doubt amount to some evidence which the Chamber can take into account. None of these however amounts to an admission, recognition or statement that, in the view of the Party concerned, there are interests of Nicaragua such that they may be affected by the decision of the Chamber in the case.