The International Court of Justice (ICJ), will begin public hearings in Guyana’s case against Venezuela over the border controversy and its settlement since 1899.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, oral arguments will take place before the Judges of the Court from Thursday 17 to Tuesday 22 November 2022.
The hearings will specifically deal with the preliminary objections raised by Venezuela in response to Guyana’s submission of its Memorial on the merits of the case.
Back in 2018 Guyana took the matter to the ICJ for a final juridical settlement.
Venezuela had challenged the Court’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the case and had vowed not to take part in the proceedings. The Court later rejected Venezuela’s arguments and confirmed its jurisdiction to hear the case.
In March this year, Guyana filed its memorial on the merits of its case against Venezuela in accordance with the Order of 8 March 2021 of the Court. Venezuela subsequently filed preliminary objections to the admissibility of Guyana’s Application to the Court to determine the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award on 7 June 2022.
In accordance with its rules, the Court suspended the proceedings on the merits until the determination by the Court of the matter of Venezuela’s preliminary objections.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the people of Guyana have remained firmly united in the quest to preserve Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. To this end, the statement said the Government invited the Leader of the Opposition to name a representative from the combined Opposition to be part of Guyana’s delegation to The Hague. Ambassador Ronald Austin Snr. was named by the Opposition to be part of the delegation.
Venezuela has long said that it preferred the matter to be settled through dialogue with Guyana, but Guyana has accused Venezuela of engaging in intimidation tactics and opted for the International Court in accordance with the recommendation of the United Nations Secretary General.
Guyana has retained several high profile international lawyers to present its case before the ICJ, with Sir Shridath Ramphal being the country’s Co-agent and lead counsel.
Several high profile officials including Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira and Agent on the border case, Carl Greenidge, have travelled to the Netherlands to hear the arguments at the Court’s headquarters.
The matter will also be livestreamed on the Court’s website.