There are perhaps more questions than answers when it comes to the issue surrounding Belize, Guatemala and the International Court of Justice. With less than six months left before we go to referendum, it has become even more urgent to hear the arguments and ask the right questions. A team of six media personnel including our News Director, Renee Trujillo, is in Mexico City, via a project by the US Embassy. Part of today’s itinerary was a meeting with an ICJ expert, Professor Carlos Vernal Berea. One of the questions frequently heard on this issue surrounds enforcement of ruling at the court.
Carlos Vernal Berea ICJ Expert: “Will you accept the final judgment, the court pass the judgment and its final, it’s totally binding and totally no argument and therefore both countries will be obliged by the Judge. All nations have the obligation to settle disputes peacefully, that’s the main international law, peacefully. They have the right to choose the means of how they want to settle the difference, they can settle it by negotiations, by meditations, by going to the OAS whatever, it’s the option and the right of state, you said it perfectly well. International Court of Justice has no authority, it has no mandate, it has no belief, there is nothing international so if one of the countries does not comply with the judgment it has no way to enforce it otherwise. Your charter says you have a recall to execute. You can go again and complain and Guatemala be the case has not complied with the Judge, we want the Security Council to but also the security council what can they do? Is to condemn the attitude of a non compliant state asking them to settle, to comply with the judgment and thats international law.”
Professor Brenda currently teaches international law at the Instituto tecnologico autonomy de Mexico and had studied at The Hague Academy of International Law. In addition, he was Mexico’s legal advisor in a case to the ICJ which he Mexico won.
Carlos Vernal Berea ICJ Expert: “The country needs to understand that you have someone, a third party has to decide. You will always keep your ideas on both sides: your anger, your history, etc etc but I think it would be a stronger step if both countries go to the court and believe me I think the judge will be final and fair, completely fair. It’s very important I think that to settle the issue because the worst that can happen is to live all your life with the dispute on your back so I think the court will be the absolutely perfect forum, the perfect seat, the perfect place for both countries to settle the matter.”
The Belize media personnel returns home tomorrow and is slated to travel to The Hague in November. The trip is part of the US Embassy’s campaign, “From fear to facts: Demystifying the ICJ”.