ICJ rejects Venezuela’s preliminary objection in border dispute

Georgetown – Guyana welcomed the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the ongoing border dispute with Venezuela with both the government and the opposition saying they remain confident that the Hague-based court will confirm the country’s longstanding international boundary dispute with its South American neighbour.

The ICJ, by a vote of 14 to one, on Thursday rejected the preliminary objection by Venezuela to Guyana’s application for the upholding of the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award settling the boundaries between the two countries.

The decision read by Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court, means that the court now proceed to address the substantive application by Georgetown regarding the validity of the award.

The ICJ rejected Venezuela’s argument that the United Kingdom, as Guyana’s colonial power, should have been a party to the proceedings.

“The court concludes that the Geneva agreement specifies particular roles for Guyana and Venezuela, and that its provisions including Article eight, do not provide a role for the United Kingdom in choosing or in participating in the means of settlement of the dispute, pursuant to Article four,” the ICJ ruled.

“The Court concludes that, by virtue of being a party to the Geneva Agreement, the United Kingdom accepted that the dispute between Guyana and Venezuela could be settled by one of the means set out in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, and that it would have no role in that procedure. Under these circumstances, the Court considers that the Monetary Gold principle does not come into play in this case.

“It follows that even if the Court, in its Judgment on the merits, were called to pronounce on certain conduct attributable to the United Kingdom, which cannot be determined at present, this would not preclude the Court from exercising its jurisdiction, which is based on the application of the Geneva Agreement. The preliminary objection raised by Venezuela must therefore be rejected,” it added. (CMC)

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