Guyana Goes To ICJ Following Latest Issue In Border Dispute With Venezuela

(CMC) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Tuesday said Guyana has filed a request for the indication of provisional measures in the border dispute with Venezuela, as the dispute between the two countries intensified in recent days.

In a statement, the ICJ, said Guyana reported that on October 23, Venezuela, through its National Electoral Council, published a list of five questions that it plans to put before the Venezuelan people in a Consultative Referendum on December 3 this year.

“According to the Applicant, the purpose of this referendum is “to obtain responses that would support Venezuela’s decision to abandon (the current proceedings before the Court), and to resort instead to unilateral measures to ‘resolve’ the controversy with Guyana by formally annexing and integrating into Venezuela all of the territory at issue in these proceedings, which comprises more than two-thirds of Guyana”.

According to the ICJ, Guyana is requesting that the Court indicates that “Venezuela shall not proceed with the Consultative Referendum planned for December 3, 2023 in its present form,” and “in particular, Venezuela shall not include the First, Third or Fifth questions in the Consultative Referendum”.

Guyana also wants the Court to indicate that “nor shall Venezuela include within the ‘Consultative Referendum’ planned, or any other public referendum, any question encroaching upon the legal issues to be determined by the Court in its Judgment on the Merits, including, but not limited to the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Award, the sovereignty over the territory between the Essequibo River, and the boundary established by the 1899 Award and the 1905 Agreement; and the purported creation of the State of Guayana Esequiba’ and any associated measures, including the granting of Venezuelan citizenship and national identity cards.”

Guyana also wants the Court to indicate that “Venezuela shall not take any actions that are intended to prepare or allow the exercise of sovereignty or de facto control over any territory that was awarded to British Guiana in the 1899 Arbitral Award.

“Venezuela shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve,” the ICJ said Guyana outlined in its request.

Venezuela’s planned referendum and its approved questions for the referendum later this year have set off a wave of criticisms, with the Guyana government accusing Venezuela of trying to annex parts of the country’s territory in contravention with international law.

The 15-member CARICOM and the Organization of American States (OAS) have also rejected the referendum stating that international law strictly prohibits the Government of one State from unilaterally seizing, annexing or incorporating the territory of another state and noted that the referendum will open the door to the possible violation of this fundamental tenet of international law.

Guyana’s National Assembly will meet on Friday for an ‘extraordinary’ sitting, to consider a motion in relation to the ongoing border controversy between the two countries.

The parliamentary sitting comes on the heels of a meeting between President Irfaan Ali, and Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton. The two sides have agreed on a united front in relation to the border controversy.