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If There Is An Affirmative Vote in Belize and Guatemala to Go To ICJ – What Happens After??

It is interesting and noteworthy to understand that once the two countries have held their referendum and the residents agree to go to the ICJ, there is a process that had to be undertaken by Belize and Guatemala as it pertains to the International Court of Justice.  Ambassador explains that process.


“It is set out very clearly in the special agreement. Guatemala is the one that has a claim on us so they must present their case before the ICJ, a written submission is what it is called. They would have to write to the international court of justice and then according to the special agreement they have one year to state their case. They will present their case in Spanish and English, the court can also hear it in French you have to use one of the languages of the court and one of those is English so they would have to present it to the court and us, Belize would have then one year after that to respond to their submission so that is two years. After that process is concluded Guatemala would then have six months to respond to our submission and then after that, six months we would then have six months to respond to Guatemala. So we are now at 3 years and then after that the court may need to hear oral arguments, so the court might say to both lawyers come physically because we have questions that you need to clarification that is another process and then after that the court will then go into deliberation and then some years after render a verdict.  It is not something that is going to be solved tomorrow that is why the confidence building measures are so important.”

The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations based in the Peace Palace in The HagueNetherlands and is accessible to the 192-member countries of the United Nations. Its mandate is to settle legal disputes that are presented to them by countries around the world as well as to provide legal advice to duly authorized international branches, agencies, and the UN General Assembly.  It is to be noted that judgements rendered by the ICJ are final and without appeal.