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Assad Shoman on the ICJ

Assad Shoman’s Guatemala’s claim to Belize, The Definitive History will be available across the country but at the moment there is a limited supply. Shoman hopes that whoever reads the book is enlightened and becomes more knowledgeable about the dispute with our neighbors to the west. He does not believe his book should be used to sway Belizeans to be pro or anti the International Court of Justice.

Assad Shoman, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs: “I don’t want this book to become like you know ‘should we go to the ICJ or should we not go.’ I think this book should become ‘should we fight for our rights and sovereignty or should we not.’ by whatever means that is how I see it, that we have to do everything we can to defend our sovereignty. ICJ is a means to an end but the end is in our hands, from now, to defend that land at any cost- defend. And sometimes you don’t see that conviction in enough people in Belize. Just bear in mind that for example when I said to you that in 2000 Guatemala started it’s campaign ‘that we must take it to court.’ and then during that process I think it was in 2001 or early 2002 we published a legal opinion written by four international lawyers of great repute headed by Sir.Ellie Laughterpat, that was so definitive, that was so clear, so obvious what that said that after that the Guatemalan leaders and negotiators started to take back and didn’t want to go to court again. And it took us a long time and different ways you will see in the book to kind of bring them back to the idea of going back to court- they had turned against it after they had seen that judgment but also after they got a judgment from a European judge that they asked privately to write an opinion for them his name is Eric Soi*, a Belgian fellow he died recently. And they didn’t want to go to court anymore and we in effect had to pressure them to the point where they agreed to go to court.”