ICJ to Rule in Border Dispute Between Venezuela and Guyana

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HAGUE, Netherlands, (CMC) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday said it will on Thursday deliver its ruling on the border case between Guyana and Venezuela.

In a brief statement posted on its website, the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, said the ruling will 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, which granted the entire mouth of the Orinoco River and the land on either side to Venezuela, 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 Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the case while urging it to find that Guyana’s case should be deemed inadmissible.

She said the 1966 Geneva Agreement, provides for an “amicable solution” to the dispute after the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award. The 1966 Geneva Agreement is the Agreement to resolve the conflict between Venezuela and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the border between Venezuela and British Guiana (Guyana).

“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 favour” 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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