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Guyana asks World Court for swift border case hearing after Venezuela refuses to participate

By Demerara Waves

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The 15 judges of the International Court of Justice, November 2014. * Photo courtesy of Intra Legem.

(DEMERARA WAVES) — Guyana wants the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to go ahead with oral hearings into the border controversy with Venezuela because Caracas has refused to submit counter arguments, the Foreign Ministry here said.

“In consequence, Guyana has decided to ask the Court to proceed directly to the holding of oral hearings, at the earliest possible date, to determine its jurisdiction over the case,” the ministry said.

On 19 November 2018 Guyana submitted its written Memorial on Jurisdiction to demonstrate that the Court has jurisdiction to decide on the validity of the Arbitral Award and the resulting boundary.

Although the ICJ fixed 18 April 2019 as the date for Venezuela to submit a Counter-Memorial on Jurisdiction in response to Guyana’s Memorial, the Guyana Foreign Ministry said “Venezuela failed to make a submission on that date, and indicated in a letter from its Foreign Minister (Jorge Arreaza) that it had chosen not do so.”

Guyana wants the ICJ to confirm the validity of the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899, which fixed the land boundary between the two States.

Guyana says it is confident that the Court itself has made clear the door remains open to Venezuela to join in the proceedings, which will continue to a final and legally-binding judgment, pursuant to the Court’s rules, whether Venezuela participates or not.

Guyana says it takes note of the Venezuelan Foreign Minister’s recent Twitter message that, at some point in the future, it will supply the Court with “information” about the case to assist it in the exercise of its judicial functions.

“If this is a first step toward Venezuela’s full participation in the case, Guyana welcomes it.

At the same time, Guyana has reserved its right to object to any submission by Venezuela that violates the Court’s rules or is otherwise prejudicial,” the Foreign ministry said.

The next step will be for the Court to schedule dates for the oral hearing on jurisdiction. The Foreign ministry will inform the public as soon as these dates are set.

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