Following the conclusion of its 39th Heads of Government meeting in Jamaica, the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) once again expressed its support of Guyana’s decision to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to have the border controversy with Venezuela settled judicially.
“Heads of Government expressed support for the judicial process underway which was intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long standing controversy and which was in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter,” CARICOM stated in the communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting.
A similar statement was made following the conclusion of the 29th Intersessional meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government earlier this year.
After both meetings, the Heads of Government reiterated their firm and unswerving support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.
UN Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres, on January 30th, 2018, recommended that the Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy be referred to the ICJ. According to Guterres, he had carefully analysed developments in 2017 in the Good Offices process and concluded that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy. The decision came after 27 years of attempting to utilize the Good Offices process to arrive at a solution to the controversy.
Since then, Guyana, on March 29th, 2018 filed an application with the ICJ requesting that it confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 arbitral award settling the boundaries between British Guiana and Venezuela.
As a result of Guyana’s application on March 29th, the ICJ, in early June, announced that it would receive Representatives from Venezuela and of Guyana on June 18th, 2018, in order to know the points of view of the parties regarding procedural issues in Guyana’s move for a juridical settlement of the controversy. It was at this meeting that Venezuela advised the ICJ that it would not be taking part in the process and did not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
The ICJ has since indicated that in the circumstances of the case, it must first settle the question of its jurisdiction and that “this question should accordingly be separately determined before any proceedings on the merits” of the matter filed by Guyana.
According to a press release posted on its website yesterday, the ICJ, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, by an Order dated 19th June 2018, said that November 19th, 2018 and April 18th, 2019 have been fixed as the respective time-limits for the entering of a memorial by Guyana and a counter-memorial by Venezuela.