Venezuela border controversy: Guyana submits arguments in border case against Venezuela to ICJ

…now looks to ICJ to settle matter in accordance with law

Guyana has submitted its written arguments for its memorial to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) right on schedule, a critical step in the adjudication of Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed the submission of the memorial to the ICJ. This was a requirement of the international court, per its December 18, 2020 decision that it had the jurisdiction to hear the case against Venezuela.

The International Court of Justice

“Guyana has today submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, its Memorial on the Merits of its Case against Venezuela – as required by the Court following its decision of 18 December 2020 confirming its jurisdiction to decide the merits of Guyana’s claims.”
“The matter is before the Court pursuant to the decision of the Secretary General of the United Nations under the 1966 Geneva Agreement, by which the parties conferred upon the Secretary General the authority to determine the means by which the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela shall be settled,” the Ministry stated.
In its statement, they noted that Guyana now looks to the Court’s judicial process to settle the matter in accordance with the rule of law. According to the Ministry, the true commemoration of the 1966 Geneva Agreement is to participate fully in the juridical process… possibly a reference to Venezuela, which has been denying the jurisdiction of the court, despite the court already ruling it had this jurisdiction.
“Guyana seeks from the Court a decision that the Arbitral Award of 1899 determining the boundary is valid and binding upon Guyana and Venezuela, and that the boundary established by that Award and the 1905 Agreement demarcating it, is the lawful boundary between Guyana and Venezuela. The Court has agreed in its earlier decision that it has jurisdiction to do so. Guyana now looks to the Court’s judicial process and its settlement of the matter under the rule of law.”
“This year sees the 56th anniversary of the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Guyana considers that the true commemoration of that Agreement is in contributing in good faith to the fulfilment of its true meaning and intent by participating fully in the current juridical process deriving from it. Hence the submission today to the International Court of Justice of Guyana’s Memorial on the Merits as required by the Court,” the Ministry further explained.
Guyana moved to the world court after exhausting all means of negotiation with Venezuela and the failed good offices process between the two South American neighbours. Then United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, in January 2018, decided that the case should be settled by the ICJ after exercising the powers vested in him to decide how the controversy should be settled by the 1966 Geneva Agreement between Guyana, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom.
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945, and began its activities in April 1946. The Court is composed of 15 Judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
Back in March 2021, the ICJ had granted Guyana until March 8, 2022, to file its written submissions for the case, after requesting 12 months. Venezuela was given until March 8, 2023, to submit its counter-memorial.
The Spanish-speaking nation is laying claims to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass in Essequibo and a portion of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which more than nine billion barrels of oil have been discovered over the past six years.
In his address to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly last year, President Dr Irfaan Ali had informed the world about Venezuela’s continued disregard for international norm in pushing its illegal claim to Guyana and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The President had also used meetings with the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to update them on Venezuela’s actions, which had run the gamut from incendiary statements to issuing decrees. Following his meeting with Caricom, the community had issued a statement rebuking Venezuela and urging it to adhere to the ICJ process. (G3)