H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro is the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he presented his credentials to His Majesty Willem Alexander King of the Netherlands, on December 2, 2020. He is coming to The Hague with decades worth of experience.
Mr. Brenes Castro began with a background in law. He became a Licensed Attorney and Notary Public in 1991 when he graduated from Law School at the University of Costa Rica, which is situated in his hometown, San Jose. While completing his degree, he simultaneously worked at a private legal practice with a focus on Immigration and Commercial Law. He then pursued further education at the University of Essex and earned a Master of Arts in Theory and Practice of Human Rights in 1994. It is most likely here that he developed his passion for human rights.
Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Brenes Castro was active in various institutions while maintaining his devotion to civil rights and peace. This included being a consultant and later professor at the University for Peace of the United Nations. The Master’s Program in Human Rights and Peace Education and the Master’s Program in Sustainable Environmental Tourism and Peace Promotion are some of the programs he taught. In addition, he was the Program Officer and Coordinator of the Security and Demilitarization Program at the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress from the mid-to-late-1990s. At the end of the decade, he was also the Director of the Study on the Quality of the Attention to the Public of the National Police, which was contracted by the Government of Nicaragua.
From 2000 onwards, Mr. Brenes Castro joined Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship. His interests expanded to International Relations, International Security, and International Law, which would be reflected in his career for the next twenty years. He became involved in many legal cases and projects, including being a counsel and advocate in the case concerning the “Dispute Regarding Navigational and Related Rights” between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and the case of “Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area,” to name a few.
In addition, he was involved in various commissions over the years, either as a member or coordinator. These include the International Law Advisory Commission, the Foreign Service Evaluation Commission, and the Technical-Scientific Advisory Commission on the Extension of the Continental Shelf of Costa Rica. He took up all these positions while being an advisor to the Minister. In late 2020, Mr. Brenes Castro embarked on his first mission abroad as Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the OPCW.
Aside from his aforementioned roles, Mr. Brenes Castro is also the author and editor of many publications. He began writing as soon as he graduated from law school and has released over a dozen books and articles altogether. Some of his books include The Leadership Challenges of Demilitarization in Africa and Un Llamado A La Responsabilidad [A Call to Responsibility]. His collection of articles consists of Some Juridicial Considerations Regarding the Declaration of Human Responsibilities for Peace and Sustainable Development, and Soldiers as Businessmen: The Economic Activities of Central America’s Militaries, among others.
In honor of his contributions and efforts thus far, Mr. Brenes Castro has received various distinctions. He was bestowed Knight of Magistral Grace in 2001 by the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta. In 2012, he was granted the title of Associate by the Instituto Hispano-Luso-Americano De Derecho Internacional – a scientific association dedicated to international law. He is currently a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the 2019-2024 period.
Mr. Brenes Castro is fluent in Spanish and English and has some proficiency in French.
Upon taking up his current position as Ambassador, his excellency is pleased to continue fostering the vigorous political, economic, and cultural relations between Costa Rica and the Netherlands. Both countries place heavy importance on protecting the climate and the environment, which can bring them “international challenges.” However, this is also shared solidarity that is currently needed in the face of global threats from climate change.
The diplomat community in The Hague sends a warm welcome to Ambassador Brenes Castro and wishes him all the best in his new term.