Guyana-Venezuela border case: ICJ can now make informed, binding judgements – Pres Ali

…as Guyana welcomes Venezuela’s last-minute submission

…Caricom, OAS condemn Venezuela’s recent provocative actions

The Government of Guyana welcomed Venezuela’s decision to submit its counter-memorial on the border controversy case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday – the very last day the World Court had given the country to do so.
In a video message, President Dr Irfaan Ali welcomed the decision and further expressed hope that Venezuela would continue to cooperate in the border case – which it has been reluctant to do, despite the court ruling since 2020 that it has the jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.
“This is what Guyana has been calling for and I hope that Venezuela continues to engage fully in the process before the International Court of Justice, which has determined that it has the jurisdiction in the case before it, to determine the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award, which Venezuela questions.
“Venezuela continues to make unfounded statements regarding the oil exploration concessions held by Exxon and other international partners. Let me be pellucid. The Government of Guyana under my leadership will continue to govern and monitor all licence holders in a transparent manner,” the Head of State said.
President Ali further reiterated that Guyana was a sovereign country “beholden to no State or private entity” when it came to how it conducted its domestic affairs. And he noted that Guyana would be bound by whatever decision the court made, in much the same way as Venezuela was bound.
“Guyana underscores the obligation of both parties to comply with the court’s order on provisional measures of December 1, 2023, which prohibits Venezuela from interfering with Guyana’s administration and control of the Essequibo.
“I, therefore, reiterate Guyana’s position that we support and will work towards a stable and peaceful regional environment, one in which the people of Venezuela and Guyana can live and enjoy peace, stability, and the friendship of each other,” President Ali said.

In addition, the Foreign Affairs Ministry also released a statement in which the Government of Guyana noted the benefits of Venezuela’s submission, one of which is that it allowed the court to make an informed, binding decision on the case. According to Guyana, the ICJ now has submissions from both States and can take all arguments and evidence into account, before it issues its final judgement.
“Guyana considers that it is beneficial to the Court to have before it the submissions of both parties on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award and the settlement of the international boundary. Guyana made its submissions in April 2023.
“With the submissions of both States before it, the Court will be able to take all arguments and evidence into account and issue a more informed judgement, which will be final and binding on the parties,” the Government said.
Repeated calls were made not only by Guyana but also by the international and regional community for the reluctant Venezuela to participate in the proceedings. This fact was recalled by the Government.
“Guyana has repeatedly called on Venezuela to participate fully in the judicial proceedings and comply with the Court’s rulings, and, therefore, welcomes Venezuela’s submissions on the substantive issues that the Court will ultimately decide.”
“Guyana notes that Caricom and the Commonwealth and other members of the international community have also been urging Venezuela to participate in the proceedings before the ICJ,” the Government added.

Unjust law
Meanwhile, both the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Organisation of American States (OAS) issued statements condemning Venezuela’s most recent provocative actions. Specifically, Venezuela’s promulgation of a “Law for the defence of Essequibo” in its National Assembly was condemned as infringing on Guyana’s sovereignty.

According to the OAS, “regional peace and security depend on stopping the Venezuelan regime from advancing these threatening objectives”. Further, they noted that the actions of current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “are directly an attack on the Chavista legacy of having relations in peace and harmony with the countries of the Caricom, as well as that Guyana’s exploitation of its natural wealth left to be carried out in peace.
“Like any self-respecting fascist “law”, it not only contains the external threat but also fulfils its tasks of internal repression. The combined use of internal repression with the regime’s aggressive stance towards the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is a new milestone in the Venezuelan regime’s infinite spiral of moral and political poverty. This law puts at risk the security not only of Guyana but also the peace and security of the hemisphere,” OAS further said.
For its part, Caricom urged Venezuela to refrain from further actions that threaten peace in the region and to adhere to dialogue and international law. The regional bloc noted that Venezuela has acted unilaterally, precipitously and, potentially, dangerously.
“In the process, it has: (i) offended “the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela” of 14 December 2023; (ii) subverted international law; and (iii) signalled a possible embrace of an unworthy aggression to achieve its own articulated goals or purposes,” Caricom further said.
The controversial law was promulgated at the instigation of President Maduro last week, in his bid to establish Guyana’s sovereign Essequibo region as a state within his country. In addition to the OAS and Caricom, the Commonwealth Secretariat has also expressed concern over the recent actions of the Venezuelan regime. (G3)