Guyana secures Nov 14 hearing at ICJ to block Venezuela’s sham referendum


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold public hearings on November 14 in The Hague to address Guyana’s most recent application for provisional measures to prevent Venezuela from taking action through its provocative referendum over Guyana’s territory – Essequibo.

The referendum is set for December 03 in Venezuela but with the border controversy case before the ICJ, Guyana hopes the Court will stop it from going forward.

In its request, Guyana seeks from the Court an Order preventing Venezuela from taking any action to seize, acquire or encroach upon, or assert or exercise sovereignty over, the Essequibo Region or any other part of Guyana’s national territory, pending the Court’s final determination.

The Court is tasked with determining the validity of the Arbitral Award that established the land boundary between our two States, and the final and binding nature of that boundary.

In a statement on Friday, the Court recalled that in March 2018, Guyana filed an Application instituting proceedings against Venezuela.

It noted, however, that the November 14 hearings will be devoted to the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Guyana on October 30 2023.

Guyana has issued repeated statement denouncing the aggressive new measures taken by Venezuela in furtherance of its groundless and unlawful territorial claim to Guyana’s Essequibo Region.

Guyana insists, as does CARICOM, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and Organization of American States, and the entire international community, that the controversy over the validity of the Arbitral Award and the land boundary must be resolved by the International Court of Justice, which will assure a just, peaceful, binding and permanent solution to this matter, in accordance with international law.

In fact, the Court itself has determined, in two separate Orders, that it has the exclusive jurisdiction to resolve this matter, and that it will do so. Twice Venezuela has formally objected to the Court’s jurisdiction, and both times the Court overwhelmingly rejected Venezuela’s objections.

  1. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    At present the ICJ is of the view that Venezuela is still a party to the litigation over which it is presiding to determine the status of 1899 Award that established the current bilateral land boundary that allocated the Essequibo Region to Guyana’s jurisdiction and control.
    The ICJ is well within the legal scope of its current remit and incarnation to respond and set a date (14 November) to process and consider Guyana’s request for establishing interim measures to pre-empt Venezuela from:
    1. taking unilateral action that is inconsistent with and infringes expectations arising its participation in the process engaged by the ICJ;
    2. Submitting and passing a Consultative Referendum in the Venezuelan Legislature that infringes and conflicts with Guyana’s recognised sovereignty;
    3.invading on the basis of this illegal domestic law that conflicts with international law the area under litigation at the ICJ that amounts to negotiating in bad faith and impugning the legal competence of the ICJ;
    4. Undertaking any action unilaterally while the matter constitutes unfinished business of the ICJ and without telling the ICJ as it must that it has withdrawn from any further participation in the hearings .

    The ICJ has no other choice but to issue the Provisional Interim Measures requested by the Government of Guyana having declared to Venezuela on two occasions that it possessed the necessary exclusive jurisdiction and locus standi to listen to and issue a judgment.
    The request of Guyana for the issuance of interim measures is both reasonable and legally correct and the ICJ can do so even if Venezuela does not make an appearance in the Hague on November 14, 2023 given the far reaching consequences of the unilateral action being contemplated by Caracas to derail the process that has been engaged.

  2. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    In presenting its case before the ICJ on November 14 at The Hauge for the issuance of provisional measures ‘…preventing Venezuela from taking any action to seize, acquire or encroach upon, or assert or exercise sovereignty over, the Essequibo Region or any other part of Guyana’s national territory, pending the Court’s final determination…” Guyana has to be fully cognisant that it has two bases and legal justification on which it can seek to retain the sinuosities and perimeters of the current 1899 Arbitration fixed boundary and subsequently plotted by both countries on all maps as being accurate, legally justificiable and wholly acceptable to both parties.
    Should Guyana fail to impress and convince of the ICJ during the resumed hearings of the legal validity of the 1899 boundary for whatever reasons provided by the Court and its opposability to Venezuela then it has a second more sound, legally binding and recognised by Venezuela option of invoking the criteria of continuous and established, in the Island of Palmas Case, display and exercise of sovereignty and independence to the exclusion of all other non-existent claims that is indeed a superior and more acceptable claim relating to the inclusion and full integration of the Essequibo Region into Guyana’s fully recognsied territorial jurisdiction and control of over 89,000 square miles.
    This is what the Island of Palmas Judgment established relating to territorial acquisition:

    A title that is inchoate cannot prevail over a definite title found on the continuous and peaceful display of sovereignty. The peaceful and continuous display of territorial sovereignty is as good as title. However, discovery alone without subsequent act cannot suffice to prove sovereignty over the island…”
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Secretary must undertake a thorough review of the criteria and the test of territoriality as set out in the Palmas Case in submitting its Memorials to the ICJ as it is both convincing and irrefutably supportive of Guyana’s uncontested display and exercise of continuous exclusive occupation and administered based sovereignty of Guyana over the Essequibo Region and over its appurtenant off shore maritime areas over which large scale oil exploration and exploitation is taking place and fully exclusively administered by the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
    Guyana has to be careful of not selling guns to the Spaniards by recounting so many Venezuelan incursions into Guyanese territory as it can weaken its second display of sovereignty legal option, It can also reflect Guyana’s lack of effective control and redound to Venezuelan effective challenge of the possession aspects of the continuous display of sovereignty by Guyana in the Essequibo Region.

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