Nov 22, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Concluding his country’s address before the World Court, Samuel Moncada Acosta, Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations urged the Court to examine the historic claims behind the 1989 arbitral award, which is at the centre of the border controversy between Guyana and its Hispanic neighbour.
Venezuela had argued that Guyana is not a proper party to the proceedings, but rather the United Kingdom which had negotiated the settlement of the then border dispute. As such, Venezuela contends that the UK should be added to the proceedings; if not then Guyana’s application for a full and final settlement of the border controversy is to be dismissed.
The International Court of Justice – the principal judicial organ of the UN, is holding public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by Venezuela in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela). The hearings started last Thursday and will conclude tomorrow at the Peace in The Hague, the seat of the ICJ. The sessions are being presided over by Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court.
To wrap up the presentations, Mr. Acosta, Venezuela’s co-agent, urged the court to find Guyana’s application to determine the validity of the 1989 award inadmissible.
He told the ICJ that Venezuela has also held international law and world peace in high regard.
As such, Acosta said the country “would never claim or aspire to something that does not belong to us.”
He continued: “We were deceived in 1989 but today we know the truth it is impossible to deceive us once again. Venezuela is aware of the crime committed against our nation so we come to the International Court of Justice, to tell the truth, but also to extend a helping hand to Guyana…”
“Let us not allow the consequences of the unlawful conduct of the United Kingdom, the absent State in these proceedings to continue to affect the future of our nations,” Acosta urged.
Professor Christian Tams also made a presentation during the final round of Venezuela’s preliminary arguments before the World Court.
He held that in light of the arbitrary fraud challenge raised by Venezuela against the United Kingdom, Guyana cannot plausibly pretend that the UK has no legal interest in the validity of the award.
“The United Kingdom stands to have breached international law by the United Nations principal judicial organ…” the lawyer said noting that the allegation is a valid charge under the Monetary Goal Doctrine–Procedural legal rule that came with the historical practice of the ICJ—which means that international courts are not competent to settle disputes between states unless those states agree to exercise jurisdiction over this dispute by the court.
“The United kingdom is at risk, at risk of being found to have acted unlawfully… To say that the United Kingdom has no skin in the game is absurd. It’s skin is the same skin as that of Indonesia or Albania in similar situations…” Professor Tams said.
He noted that so far Guyana’s attempt to discredit Venezuela’s contention has been weak and unfounded.
“How could such British conduct be irrelevant to your case? What we have heard here are high-handed dismissals…” Prof Tam added.
The attorney advanced that Guyana’s argument that the UK is a third party to the proceeding should be seen as nothing but a smokescreen since “the United Kingdom is not a third party State, it is the other State, and the only other State in the matter.”
Professor Paolo Palcetti held similar sentiments. He told the World Court that Guyana has said nothing about UK’s responsibility in the matter resulting from its conduct. He urged the ICJ to reject claims by Guyana that the UK had given consent to the course, exercising its jurisdiction.
The lawyer noted that while Guyana shared the view that the UK has no interest in the disputed territory, Guyana remains silent on the issue of the UK and its international responsibility and the obligations that arise from such responsibility.
He said, “Guyana at first mounted a timid defence saying that this was the first time that Venezuela was raising the question of the United Kingdom’s conduct but this is not a new argument. This has historically been Venezuela’s position.”
Palcetti continued, “As Professor Tams has just told us, Guyana also raised in its memorial the question of deceit, corruption, and coercion by the United Kingdom.”
Further, he said that contrary to Guyana’s claims, Article 4 of the Geneva agreement makes no reference to consent by the UK for purpose of the ICJ proceedings.
Consequently, in keeping with the Monetary Goal Principle, Palcetti said the Court must first determine the truthfulness of the alleged illegal conduct of the UK before its rule on the validity of the arbitral award.
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