Venezuela’s non-participation could bring early end to border controversy case


Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge sees Venezuela’s lack of participation in the judicial process to settle the territorial controversy at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as bringing an earlier end to the case but not necessarily guaranteeing a ruling in Guyana’s favour.

The only consequence there will be is that the case will finish more quickly if Venezuela does not participate,” Mr Greenidge told the media during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

In June, Venezuela said it will not participate in the procedure that the Government of Guyana introduced before the ICJ in relation to the territorial controversy over the Essequibo.

The ICJ has given Guyana up to November 19, 2018 to file its memorial in the matter and Venezuela until April 18, 2019 to file a counter-memorial.

“Venezuela is entitled to make a submission. If Venezuela cares not to make a submission, it makes no difference,” the Foreign Minister said, but subsequently explained that this will not guarantee a settlement in Guyana’s favour.

“If you chose not to participate, the Court doesn’t award in favour of someone else. What the Court does is it goes through the process and it in a sense anticipates your arguments –it may not do it well and that’s why you should be there –and having anticipated your arguments, look critically at Guyana’s arguments and they then come to a decision,” Mr Greenidge explained.

On March 29, 2018, Guyana submitted its Application to the ICJ requesting the Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

The Application follows a decision made by the UN for the ICJ to be the next course of settlement.

While it was noted that the ICJ can only offer what is known as an “advisory opinion”, Mr Greenidge previously said it still has significant weight in the international community.

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