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Enforcements of ICJ Rulings: How Is It Done?

Elrington was also asked to explain what enforcement strategies are in the place once a decision is handed down by the ICJ.


“The International Court of Justice doesn’t have a police force that could lock you up. It’s always diplomatic pressure being brought so that if we get a clear ruling from the ICJ and the Guatemalans continue to come across they will very likely be sanctioned by other countries to make sure that they don’t do that and it would normally start with diplomatic pressure. If you noticed what happened in Russia recently when they went into Ukraine what did Europeans and others do? They don’t send military you know, they cut them off economically, we stop trading with you, we stop allowing your citizens to come through and we stop giving you money and lending you money from the banks and the like and bringing, what is called that kind of diplomatic pressure that is the pressure that was brought on South Africa during the days of Apartheid to have them stop doing the Apartheid, they stopped trading with them they stopped them from coming to sporting events, they don’t go to cultural events, that sort of thing. That is the preferred method of resolving disputes and ensuring that in fact the order is upheld. We have had rulings in the reasons where people are not necessarily happy but in time they come around, they accept it and that is particularly important for us in Belize because we are part of SICA; we go to meetings with Guatemala almost every single day and so we have to live together and Guatemala cannot behave like a renegade the other countries are not going to tolerate it. We have excellent relationships with all the SICA countries in all of Central America and they then are now going to bring pressure on Guatemala because everybody wants a world of peace and order and security. So the sovereign nations of the world will bring pressure on one of their own peers to act in accordance with the law.”

While it is expected that Guatemala will hold its referendum later this year, Belize is yet to set a date for its referendum.