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Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v.

Uruguay)
4 May 2006, Argentina moved the ICJ for a dispute between itself and Uruguay concerning
alleged breaches latter of obligations incumbent upon it under the Statute of the River
Uruguay. In its Application, Argentina alleged the Government of Uruguay with having, in
October 2003, unilaterally authorised the construction of a pulp mill near the town of Fray
Bentos without complying with the obligatory prior notification and consultation procedure
provided for by the 1975 Statute. Argentina stated that, despite its repeated protests, both
directly to the Government of Uruguay and to the Administrative Commission of the River
Uruguay, the Uruguayan Government had persisted in its refusal to follow the prescribed
procedures. According to the Application, Uruguay has in fact aggravated the dispute by
subsequently authorising the construction in the same area of a second pulp mill and of a port
for that mill.
Argentina and Uruguay submitted a request for the indication of provisional measures, but on
23 January 2007 the requests were denied by the ICJ. The Court held that it was not
convinced that the blockades risk prejudicing the rights which Uruguay claims from the
Statute of the River Uruguay and that it had not shown that, were there such a risk, it would
be imminent.

April 2010. The Court held that Uruguay should have informed Argentina about its plans to
build the two pulp mills, in accordance with the treaty regulating the use of the river. It held
that Uruguay had breached the 1975 treaty for failing to negotiate and for failing to inform
the Administrative Commission of the River Uruguay (CARU), a commission established by
the 1975 treaty.
However, the Court found that Uruguay has not breached its substantive obligations under
Articles 35, 36 and 41 of the 1975 Statute, for the protection of the environment provided for
by the Statute of the River Uruguay by authorizing the construction and commissioning the
mill. It said that there was not evidence in the record to show that Uruguay has not acted
with the requisite degree of due diligence or that the discharges of effluent from the Orion
(Botnia) mill have had deleterious effects or caused harm to living resources or to the quality
of the water or the ecological balance of the river since it started its operations in November
2007. Therefore the Court found that ordering the dismantling of the mill or ordering
compensation would be an inappropriate remedy for a breach of a procedural obligation. The
Court held that the pulp mill could therefore continue to operate.
Used to refer to the fact that a profit of one party need not be a necessary loss for the other.