OF THE REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA
We, the Representatives of the People of Costa Rica, freely elected
Members of the National Constitutional Assembly, invoking the
name of God and reaffirming our faith in democracy, decree and
enact the following:
CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA
ARTICLE 1. Costa Rica is a free and independent democratic
ARTICLE 2. Sovereignty resides exclusively in the Nation.
ARTICLE 3. No one may usurp sovereignty; any person who does
so commits the crime of treason against the Nation.
ARTICLE 4. No person or group of persons may assume the
representation of the People, usurp their rights, or make petitions in
their name. Violation of this article shall be sedition.
ARTICLE 5. The national territory is bounded by the Caribbean Sea,
the Pacific Ocean, and the Republics of Nicaragua and Panama.
The boundaries of the Republic are those established by the Cañas-
Jérez Treaty of April 15, 1858, ratified by the Cleveland Award of
March 22, 1888, with respect to Nicaragua, and by the Echandi
Montero-Fernández Jaén Treaty of
May 1, 1941, with regard to Panama.
Cocos Island, located in the Pacific Ocean,
is part of the national territory.
ARTICLE 6. The State exercises complete and exclusive sovereignty
over the air space above its territory, over its territorial waters within
a distance of twelve miles measured from the low-tide mark along
its shores, over its continental shelf and its insular undersea base, in
accordance with principles of International Law.
It also exercises special jurisdiction over the seas adjacent to its
territory within a distance of two hundred miles measured from the
same mark, in order to protect, preserve and exploit exclusively
all the natural resources and wealth existing in the waters, soil and
subsoil of those zones, in accordance with those principles. (As
amended by Law N° 5699, June 5, 1975).
ARTICLE 7. Public treaties, international agreements and
concordats duly approved by the Legislative Assembly shall have a
higher authority than the laws upon their enactment or from the day
that they designate.
Public treaties and international agreements referring to the territorial
integrity or the political organisation of the country shall require
the approval of the Legislative Assembly by a vote of not less than
three-quarters of all its members and the approval of two-thirds of
the members of a Constituent Assembly convened for that purpose.
(As amended by Law N° 4123, May 31, 1968).
ARTICLE 8. Foreign states may only acquire within the territory of
the Republic, on a reciprocal basis, the real estate necessary to base
their diplomatic representations, notwithstanding the provisions of
ARTICLE 9. The Government of the Republic is popular,
representative, participatory, alternate and responsible. It is exercised
by three distinct and independent branches: Legislative, Executive,
and Judicial. (As amended by Law N° 8364 of July 1, 2003).
None of these Branches may delegate the exercise of their own
A Supreme Electoral Tribunal, with the rank and independence
of the Government Branches, has exclusive and independent
responsibility for the organisation, management and supervision of
suffrage-related acts, as well as for any other functions vested in it
by this Constitution and the laws. (The foregoing paragraph was
added by Law N° 5704, June 5, 1975).