Apr 04, 2018 News
Guyana is unfazed by statements of neighbouring Venezuela that it will not recognize any ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the territorial claims.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, is convinced that a judgment will once and for all put a rest to the baseless claims and send a clear signal that there are mechanisms for peaceful resolutions in the region.
Last week, the minister journeyed to The Hague, The Netherlands, where the case for Guyana was filed with the ICJ, the judicial arm of the United Nations.
“I have submitted on behalf of Guyana an application to the Court to initiate legal proceedings in regard to Venezuela’s claim that the 1899 Arbitral Award is invalid. As you are aware, the consequence of this assertion is to put into question Guyana’s sovereignty over two thirds of its territory,” the minister said of the filing.
The application is asking the court to confirm in a final and binding judgment the full legal validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that delimited this country’s land boundary with Venezuela. Coming from the principal judicial organ of the UN, such a judgment will once and for all put to rest this “baseless” contention, Greenidge said yesterday.
“As you are aware, Guyana has suffered from Venezuela’s contention of nullity ever since our independence in 1966. This assertion has undermined our ability to develop our sovereign territory and resources, including our natural wealth in the sea. By means of a judgment of the court, our objective is to put this controversy to a definitive end so Guyana and Venezuela can live together as neighbours without the shadow of this conflict.”
According to Minister Greenidge, this course of action follows the decision of UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to choose the court as the means for resolving this controversy.
“On January 30th of this year, just two months ago, the new Secretary-General, António Guterres, decided that the Good Offices Process has come to an end, and that the court should now settle the controversy by means of a final and binding decision.”
The minister noted that now that the application is before the court, the process leading to this final judgment has commenced.
“This is a great moment for the rule of law worldwide and for the peaceful resolution of conflict in our Caribbean region. Above all, it is a great moment for the future prosperity and security of Guyana, and for the betterment of our neighbourly relations with our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.”
He said that Guyana will now await the response of the court to the application.
“Venezuela of course has the right to respond and disagree with Guyana’s position on the validity of the 1899 Award. But either way, the process leading to a final judgment has now been set into motion.”
According to the Foreign Minister, the judicial process will unfold in several stages and the Government of Guyana will periodically inform the public of its progress.
“This is likely to be a lengthy process, but having waited more than 50 years, we are fully committed to seeing it through until the very end. The Government of Guyana looks forward to the continuing support of the Guyanese people as we move forward with this historic process in pursuit of justice.”
Guyana, under the Coalition Government from 2015, and from an increasingly hostile Venezuela government, decided to formally complain to the UN that year.
Complaints were also filed with the regional governments and authorities after Venezuela made it clear that the arbitration award was null and void, and that it wanted two-thirds of mineral-rich Essequibo, based on a century-old claim that Guyana said was settled.
Venezuela even claimed the area where oil has been found offshore.
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