ICJ to rule on Guyana border dispute on Thursday

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said it would on Thursday deliver its judgment on the preliminary objection raised by Venezuela in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899 with Guyana.

In a brief statement posted on its website on Monday, the ICJ, the “principal judicial organ of the United Nations”, said the ruling would be read out by Judge Joan E. Donoghue, the President of the Court.

Last November, Venezuela said the ICJ could not hear the case and that the 1899 Arbitral Award is a full, final and perfect settlement of the land boundary between the two countries because Britain is not a party to the proceedings.

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez told the ICJ that her country maintained that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to entertain the case while urging it to find that Guyana’s case should be deemed in admissible.

She said the 1966 Geneva Agreement provides for an “amicable solution” to the dispute after the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award.

“We submit that this court would not be in a position to resolve Guyana’s application because the United Kingdom, an indispensable party to settle such a matter of the dispute requested by Guyana is not participating,” she told the judges.

“The United Kingdom never had title over the territory over Guyana Essequibo,” she said, accusing the UK of shifting the boundary unilaterally throughout the 19th century by asserting new land rights reflected in “doctored maps containing falsified border lines in its favor” to voraciously govern gold mines and other natural resources.

Rodriguez said the UK had stated that the new border line had not been subject to negotiation and any action could be greeted with the use of force.

But Guyana has urged the ICJ to dismiss as “both legally unstoppable and entirely without foundation” Venezuela’s preliminary objections regarding the border dispute.

“Guyana will demonstrate …that Venezuela’s preliminary objections are both legally unsupportable and entirely without foundation,” said Carl Greenidge, the Agent of Guyana in the case concerning the Arbitral Award.

Greenidge told the ICJ panel of judges that in December 2020, the ICJ ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case, rejecting Venezuela’s objections in this regard.

He said Guyana has been complying with requirements from the court because the country remains committed to international law, describing Venezuela’s preliminary objections as a tactic meant to delay the Court’s assessment of Guyana’s merits in the border controversy.

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