ICJ Rules in Favor of Guyana

ICJ Rules in Favor of Guyana

Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday ruled they had jurisdiction over a long-running border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela, which could determine which country has rights to a territory rich in oil and gas. Guyana in 2018 asked the ICJ, also known as the World Court, to confirm that the border was laid down in an 1899 arbitration between Venezuela and the then-colony of British Guiana. Venezuela, while boycotting much of the procedure, tried to stop the case from moving forward by arguing the United Kingdom should be involved as Guyana was a British colony in 1899, but judges rejected that reasoning and said they have jurisdiction. Venezuela, while boycotting much of the procedure, tried to stop the case from moving forward by arguing the United Kingdom should be involved as Guyana was a British colony in 1899, but judges rejected that reasoning and said they have jurisdiction. Following the ruling Guyanese President Mohammed Afraan Ali addressed the nation. 

Mohamed Ifraan Ali, President of Guyana: “This is the second time the International Court has rejected jurisdictional objections raised by Venezuela. In December 2020 the court overruled Venezuela’s objection by a vote of 12-4. In June 2022 Venezuela raised a new objection. Oral hearings were held in November 2022 during which both parties appeared and presented their arguments before the court. Today’s ruling disposes of that objection and will require Venezuela to submit it’s written pleadings on the merits of the case, that is on the validity of the arbitral award and it’s national boundary that it established. Guyana remains confident that it’s long standing international boundary with Venezuela will be confirmed by the court. Guyana has always been fully committed to the peaceful resolution of the dispute with it’s neighbour and sister republic in accordance with international law. That is why after attempting unsuccessfully to achieve a diplomatic settlement through talks with mediated by the United Nations Secretary General over more than two decades Guyana brought to the matter to the International Court of Justice for a final and binding determination. All member states of the United Nations including Guyana and Venezuela are obligated under the United Nations Charter to comply with the court’s binding judgements.”

Belize’s Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Courtenay stated on Twitter (quote) “Belize welcomes today’s decision by the ICJ in which Guyana prevailed. Belize is firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of international disputes.” (end of quote)

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