Guyana and Venezuela Border Controversy goes to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

UN Secretary General sends Guyana-Venezuela border controversy to World Court

By: Denis Chabrol – Demerara Waves – January 30, 2018

The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres  has decided to refer the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy to the  International Court of Justice (ICJ) for settlement, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday January 30, 2018.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said Guterres “has carefully analysed developments in 2017 in the good offices process and has concluded that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy.   

Accordingly, the Secretary-General has fulfilled the responsibility that has fallen to him within the framework set by his predecessor in December 2016, and has chosen the International Court of Justice as the means to be used for the solution of the controversy.”

Dujarric added that in reaching that decision, the Secretary-General has also reached the conclusion that Guyana and Venezuela could benefit from the continued good offices of the United Nations through a complementary process established on the basis of the powers of the Secretary-General under the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Secretary-General, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations, remains committed to accompany both States as they seek to overcome their differences regarding this border controversy,” the spokeswoman added.

Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Waddell confirmed that Guyana was told of the UN Chief’s decision, but said she had no immediate details.

Guterres’ decision was taken after his High-Level Personal Representative, Dagg Halvor Nylander failed to resolve the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the boundary between Venezuela and then British Guiana.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “Guyana welcomes the decision of the Secretary General of the United Nations to refer the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Guyana will not allow factors extraneous to the controversy to influence its referral to the Court; but it will continue the advancement of peaceful relations with Venezuela whose people are the brothers and sisters of Guyanese. In this context, Guyana acknowledges the Secretary General’s suggestions for the immediate future,” the Foreign Ministry added.

The controversy resurfaced after a letter by a junior Venezuelan lawyer, Mallet Prevost, had surmised a political deal between Russia and Britain based on the private behaviour of the judges. . “That Guyana has stood firm against Venezuela’s attempt to re-open a territorial boundary settled and recognised for half a century before its independence, and done so despite the manifest unequal strengths between the two countries, is to our national credit. Guyana, as one of the world’s small developing countries, is pleased that its reliance on the rule of law internationally has been the underpinning of its national sovereignty,” the Foreign Ministry, however, stated.

Guyana has already secured US$18 million from ExxonMobil, as a signing bonus, to meet legal fees for the settlement of the controversy at the ICJ, also known as the World Court.

Guterres’ predecessor, Ban Ki Moon, had committed the UN Secretary General to send the controversy to the ICJ if there was significant progress in resolving Venezuela’s claim to the mineral and forest rich Essequibo Region and the Atlantic sea off that county. The Foreign Ministry said “Guyana has always held the view that the ICJ is the appropriate forum for the peaceful and definitive settlement of the controversy, and is pleased that that view has prevailed under the process developed” by both Ban and Guterres.

In the Geneva Agreement of 1966, Guyana and Venezuela conferred upon the Secretary-General the power and responsibility to choose a means of peaceful settlement from amongst those contemplated in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations. The Geneva Agreement also provides that if the means so chosen does not lead to a solution of the controversy, the Secretary-General is to choose another means of settlement.

********

Guyana- Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON DECISION BY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL ON BORDER CONTROVERSY BETWEEN GUYANA AND VENEZUELA

Guyana welcomes the decision of the Secretary General of the United Nations to refer the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Guyana has always held the view that the ICJ is the appropriate forum for the peaceful and definitive settlement of the controversy, and is pleased that that view has prevailed under the process developed by both Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Guyana will not allow factors extraneous to the controversy to influence its referral to the Court; but it will continue the advancement of peaceful relations with Venezuela whose people are the brothers and sisters of Guyanese. In this context, Guyana acknowledges the Secretary General’s suggestions for the immediate future.

That Guyana has stood firm against Venezuela’s attempt to re-open a territorial boundary settled and recognised for half a century before its independence, and done so despite the manifest unequal strengths between the two countries, is to our national credit. Guyana, as one of the world’s small developing countries, is pleased that its reliance on the rule of law internationally has been the underpinning of its national sovereignty.

January 30, 2018

        GUYANA – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • 254 South Road & Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown, Guyana 
  • Telephone: +592 226 1325; +592 226 1606-8 ext. 320/262 
  • Email: publicdiplomacy@minfor.gov.gy
  • Website: www.minfor.gov.gy
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 01/31/2018 at 12:11 pm

    Kicking the disputed ball down the line.

    • Ron Saywack  On 01/31/2018 at 3:21 pm

      Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations toothlessly states:

      “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

      The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.”

      —————————————————–

      Obviously, the above means to settle the long-standing border dispute have categorically failed, thus rendering a new approach critically necessary.

      However, it may take years before the case is actually brought before the ICJ (World Court), litigated and a verdict reached … should it come to fruition. It Is worth noting that the decision of the World Court has no binding effect except between the two parties – Guyana and Venezuela.

      It should also be noted that the Court’s decision is final and not subject to appeal. Is this a good or bad thing? Well, that will depend on what the verdict is. If the Court decides that the current boundary demarcations are legal, Venezuela will see red and Guyana will rejoice.

      The question is, will Venezuela respect the Court’s decision or will act like a rogue (or bully) state in the event it does not like it? In which case, Washington may also see red and tell Caracas to back off.

      Important Question: Who will Guyana choose as counsel or agent to litigate its case at The Hague? Hopefully, someone very, very good.

  • Born Guyanese  On 01/31/2018 at 1:20 pm

    Venezuela land grab again? Be careful, money and politicians make strange bed-fellows …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: