Failure to honour judgement on border case can bring action from UN Security Council


The Government is seeking a binding judgement from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as opposed to an advisory position, according to Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge.

Greenidge, who is Guyana’s recent former Foreign Minister, explained that Venezuela, though it has refused to partake in the process, will have to abide by the judgement to avoid further action by the United Nations Security Council.

“It is important if that court pronounces in favour of Guyana but even more important would be if the court gives a judgement as opposed to an advisory opinion in favour of Guyana because failure of a party to honour a judgement may bring action by the Security Council,” Greenidge said on Saturday evening at the Guyana Press Association’s (GPA) 2019 Media Awards and Dinner where he was the guest speaker.

The event was held at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.

The first of the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case comes up before the ICJ in March 2020.

“We are not after an advisory opinion; it is a judgement that the court has been called on to make,” Greenidge noted.

The UN Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.

In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

“The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without resorting to the use of force. Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decisions,” the UN website stated.

Greenidge himself in March 2018 submitted Guyana’s 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 the decision of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to choose the ICJ as the next means of settling the decades old controversy between the neighbouring states.

Venezuela has since challenged the court’s authority to hear the case noting that the ICJ does not have the jurisdiction to do same.

The ICJ has since announced that the oral hearing on whether the court has jurisdiction will be held in The Hague from March 23 to 27, 2020.

The Former Foreign Minister also used the opportunity to highlight the role of the media in guarding against misinformation on the issue while it is before the ICJ.

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