Intercultural Human Rights Law Review


Paola Solano

First Page



For many years Colombia has struggled with eradicating illicit narcotic crops. Spraying coca and poppy crops aerially with chemical herbicides has been one of Colombia's strategies. However, this practice has resulted in serious violations of human and environmental rights. Because the herbicides were aerially sprayed at locations near, at and across the border with Ecuador, it has caused transboundary damage not only to people, animals and crops but also to bordering Ecuador's natural environment. It has also caused damage to the Colombian environment, population, and Indigenous groups. In 2008, Ecuador submitted an application instituting proceedings to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Colombia for international wrongful acts and compensation for its losses. Although, on September 13 of 2013, Ecuador removed the case from the ICJ, after reaching an Agreement with Colombia that resolved all of its claims, this article will discuss the various international human and environmental rights violations that were raised by Ecuador's application and remain unresolved. Part II starts by providing background information on the Colombian armed conflict and the factors that led to the creation of Plan Colombia so that the nature of the existing problems and violations of international law are better understood. It also delimits the nature of the problems. Part III identifies the different claimants, and their respective arguments and perspectives. Part IV addresses the past trends in decision and conditioning factors in international and domestic law. Part V provides the possible future occurrences in light of changed and changing conditioning factors. And Part VI concludes by setting forth possible solutions to the various issues that arise from the aerial herbicide spraying by recommending the formulation of new policies that include social, economic, and environmental dimensions, starting with Colombia's most affected group, i.e. the peasants.