The International Court of Justice (ICJ) hast set December 18 to deliver its judgment on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the Guyana- Venezuela border controversy case.
In a statement on Thursday, the Court said the decision will be read by President of the ICJ, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf at a public sitting of the court at 15:00h next Friday.
“In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, only Members of the Court and representatives of the Parties will be present in the Great Hall of Justice. Members of the diplomatic corps, the media and public will be able to follow the reading through a live webcast on the Court’s website, as well as on UN Web TV,” the ICJ said.
Venezuela is maintaining a claim to 70% of Guyana’s territory, arguing that the 1899 arbitral award which determined the boundaries between the two countries is null and void.
The case was heard on June 30 2020, where a high-level legal team representing Guyana made out a case on why the ICJ has the powers to hear and determine the case and ultimately put an end to the border controversy.
After the last push to see if talks could bear fruit between the two countries failed, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on January 30, 2018, announced that he was referring the matter to the International Court for a final and full settlement.
But Venezuela contends that the Secretary-General was not correct in taking the decision, saying that it wanted talks to continue.
The Spanish-speaking country has argued that the court has no jurisdiction and did not participate in the oral hearings.
But Sir Shridath Ramphal – Guyana’s first Attorney General – who led Guyana’s arguments, said the court was not left to speculate as to what Venezuela might have said had it appeared before the court.
On November 28, 2019, Venezuela submitted a 56-page memorandum to the court, accompanied by a 155-page annex setting out the basis for its objections to the court’s jurisdiction.
Sir Shridath, in a passionate opening statement to the Court, said Guyana’s collective patrimony is at the very center of the case and said Guyanese are united in the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their homeland.
Guyana’s official and representative delegation, which joined in from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana were: Guyana’s agent and co-agent, Foreign Secretary Carl Greenidge and Ambassador Audrey Waddell; opposition representative Gail Teixeira; former Foreign Minister Rashleigh Jackson, and Ambassadors Elizabeth Harper and Cedric Joseph.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.