A team of journalists from Belize are embarking on a US Embassy sponsored education about the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The group of journalists are at The Hague in the Netherlands. LOVE News very own Renee Trujillo is there and has sent this report.
Rene Trujillo: “After twelve hours of flight and an estimated nine hour layover 9 reporters from Belize are in the Hague seeking and answers to the many questions bubbling in the minds of Belizeans back home pertaining to the International Court of Justice. Leading to that occasion is public relations officer of the US Embassy Natella Svistunova.
Natella Svistunova: “It’s truly a sentimental moment in Belize’s history, some even it call it Belize’s date with history and how this will be the vote of a lifetime for Belizean people and in preparation and in anticipation and in advance of this truly historic moment the US Embassy designed and the State Department funded this innovative program for media professionals to come to the Hague where the ICJ is to learn about the court in the process to educate themselves learning from subject matter experts and then in turn to educate Belizean people so that they vote based on facts and not on fear, in fact the program is called from fear to facts whilst defining the ICJ?
Rene Trujillo: While the Government of Belize has embarked in their education campaign the US Embassy founded this idea fitting to add to the education of the Belizean people. With close to $200 spent and several meetings set up the Belize Delegation will be learning on the mandate of the International Court of Justice, the System of Enforcement , the court procedures as well as other cases that have come to the court.
Natella Svistunova: ” As you know Belizean media professionals have to go to Mexico City for Visas to come to Hauge and of course we use that opportunity to setup a meeting with Mexican legal expert on the ICJ in fact someone who represented Mexico in its winning case in the ICJ and I believed it was the first opportunity to that Belizean Media Professional had to meet with and ICJ expert, you can correct me if I am wrong but that trip presented first opportunity for Belizean Media to learn from subject matter experts so we kicked off the program without starting the program, in fact it started before it even started. In the five days that we are here we have a busy but very exciting, packed schedule and of course the highlight is the visit to the Peace Palace where the ICJ is and surrounding that visit, the event we have a wealth of meetings with diplomatic professionals, with attorneys, with law clerks, with those who have first hand knowledge about the court, those who have worked with the court, those who have interacted with the judges, those who have day to day dealings with the ICJ so the Belizean Media Professionals will be learning first hand from those subject matter experts and then in turn educating Belizean people on the Court. Conveying the message and converting their fears into facts and then demystifying the court, demystifying the ICJ.
Rene Trujillo: To date we have had several engagements with persons who have dealt with directly at the ICJ as well as Diplomats. Sivestanova says the Embassy’s hopes is to have voters go out to vote on April 2019 with the correct information and knowledge of the facts surrounding the case between Belize and Guatemala and the International Court of Justice.
Natella Svistunova:” I think it is already a very successful program, the fact that it’s happening, the facts that Belizean Journalists are learning from subject matter experts. I think the ultimate success of the program would be for Belizean media to get the facts and then to convey those facts to the Belizean people so they are supplied with information and they can make a decision for themselves based on facts and not fear.
Rene Trujillo: The team returns home on Sunday December 2 with a trip to Guatemala City slated for December 6th. Reporting form the Hague in the Netherlands I am Renee Trujillo.
Love News will continue to provide coverage of the ICJ education.