Venezuela has objected to the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it has the right to hear and determine Guyana’s argument for a final settlement of the longstanding border controversy.
This means that the court must suspend hearing the merits of Guyana’s case until it fleshes out and decides on Venezuela’s objection.
For Guyana, Venezuela’s objection means it has joined the case, something which it did not want to do.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said ICJ’s registrar informed the ministry that Venezuela had submitted preliminary objections to the admissibility of the case before the Court.
The ministry acknowledged that the Court’s rules of procedures allow for such objections to be lodged.
Already, Guyana has submitted its Memorial on the merits of its case against Venezuela, arguing that the 1899 Arbitral Award which determined the boundaries between the two countries is legal and valid.
“… by submitting an objection at this advanced stage of the proceedings before the ICJ, the Venezuelan Government is patently engaging in an effort to delay the Court’s final judgement on the merits of the case,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry, however, said.
Nevertheless, the statement added that by this action, the Venezuelan government has joined the judicial process that Guyana has long urged it to do.
Before the ministry’s statement was released on Wednesday, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali told the News Room that Venezuela has a responsibility as a member of the United Nations (UN) and the global family to “work within the rules”- that is, participate in this judicial process.
“We are hoping that they will operate based on their obligations and we have encouraged them to participate in this process,” President Ali said on the sidelines of the ongoing Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.
Venezuela rejects that the ICJ should hear the case and continues to call for a return to bilateral talks.
Guyana, however, argues that decades of talks have failed and a judicial settlement is best.
In December 2020, the Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case.
The statement from the government said Guyana has “steadfastly adhered to the rule of international law and the rules and procedures of the ICJ with regard to this matter, and we will continue to do so.”