Days after the International Court of Justice announced that it will be hearing arguments on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the border row case between Guyana and Venezuela, the Foreign Minister of Guyana has taken Guyana’s position to the United Nations.
Delivering a statement on Saturday to the UN General Assembly in New York, Foreign Minister Dr. Karen Cummings raised the issue of Venezuela not wanting to participate in the case before the ICJ.
She reminded that Guyana earlier warned about Venezuela’s position on the International Court of Justice hearing the matter even after it was referred to the Court by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
“It was a decision binding on Venezuela, but we warned of Venezuela’s unwillingness to participate in the proceedings. A year later, that warning is fulfilled. As we heard yesterday, Venezuela’s unwillingness to be involved in a judicial resolution has hardened into a refusal to pursue the path of peace through respect for the rule of law. Guyana has placed its faith in the world’s highest Court. It will continue to do so”.
Minister Cummings pointed out that Venezuela continues to show disregard to the efforts to have the issue settled.
“Last year, from this podium, Guyana updated the world on the disregard for these principles that our neighbour, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, continues to show in its controversy with Guyana. We showed how six months earlier, in March of last year, Guyana had acted on the decision of the Secretary-General of this Organisation to refer the controversy to the International Court of Justice under the Geneva Agreement of 1966 to which Venezuela is a party”.
Guyana is seeking to obtain a final and binding judgment from the Court that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the location of the land boundary between then-British Guiana and Venezuela, remains valid and binding, and that Guyana’s Essequibo region belongs to Guyana, and not Venezuela.
Venezuela has claimed, in a letter to the Court, that the Secretary-General exceeded his authority under the Geneva Agreement, and that the Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate Guyana’s lawsuit.
Venezuela has indicated that it will not participate in the proceedings.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said under well-established judicial precedent, the Court will proceed to decide if it has jurisdiction over Guyana’s claims, irrespective of whether or not Venezuela participates in the proceedings.