Territorial Differendum Between Belize and Guatemala Awaits International Court of Justice Hearings

Territorial Differendum Between Belize and Guatemala Awaits International Court of Justice Hearings

The territorial differendum between Belize and Guatemala remains a live matter at the International Court of Justice.  Since the matter was first deposited to The Hague, with both countries in agreement, all the written arguments have since been submitted for both sides.  The hearings are now pending, but according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay, it could be close to a year before that happens.

Eamon Courtenay, Foreign Minister: “We expect the oral hearings to take place in 2024. The situation is that the pleadings are closed and there is an election of new judges in November. So we don’t expect the current bench to hear the case because if they do hear it some of them will come off by the time a decision is to be given. So the new bench will take its seat in February of next year. So we expect either sometime in late spring or in summer, we will get a hearing. Our lawyers tell us that the ICJ docket is full, but they believe that by summer, we should have a hearing date.”

With the election of new judges to the International Court of Justice pending, Belize, as a member of the United Nation’s General Assembly will have a vote in the upcoming election.  Foreign Affairs Minister, Eamon Courtenay, has confirmed that his office has received recommendations earlier this week.

Eamon Courtenay, Foreign Minister: “Coincidentally I just received an email this morning with advice on which judges we should support and which we should not support. I have passed that on to our permanent representative in New York so that we can do an assessment. As I said, the election is in November, but we are closely analyzing all the candidates and deciding who we are going to vote for.”

The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. Elections are held in New York (United States of America) during the annual autumn session of the General Assembly this month.  Once elected, the judges are expected to activate in February next year.

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