Editorial

Unanimous ruling by the ICJ

  • Posted 3 months ago
  • News, Disputed Borders

His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali welcomed the unanimous ruling by the ICJ today.
“Today, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an important Order granting the provisional measures against Venezuela that Guyana requested in response to Venezuela’s announcement that it would be holding a referendum that would endorse, among other illegal measures, Venezuela’s annexation of Guyana’s Essequibo Region. The Order of the Court was unanimous, with all of the sitting Judges voting in favour of it.

The Order states:
“Pending a final decision in the case, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shall refrain from taking any action which would modify the situation that currently prevails in the territory in dispute, whereby the Cooperative Republic of Guyana administers and exercises control over that area.”

We welcome this unanimous ruling by the ICJ.
As the Court has made clear, Venezuela is prohibited from annexing or trespassing upon Guyanese territory or taking any other actions – regardless of the outcome of its referendum on December 3 – that would alter the status quo in which Guyana administers and controls the Essequibo Region, as an integral part of its sovereign territory, under the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899.

Today’s ruling is legally binding on Venezuela. Both the UN Charter and the Statute of the Court, to which Venezuela is a Party, require its strict compliance.
This is an opportunity for Venezuela to join Guyana in demonstrating respect for international law and the principles that govern peaceful coexistence.

Guyana remains steadfast in its commitment to the international judicial process and the rule of law. It is fully confident that, when the ICJ issues its final Judgment on the merits of the case, it will conclude that the Essequibo is legally and rightfully Guyanese territory.
We believe that justice, not force, should be the arbiter of international disputes.
To this end, we affirm our dedication to pursuing a peaceful, legal resolution to this dispute in the right and proper place – the ICJ – as authorized by the UN Secretary-General in the exercise of his powers under the Geneva Agreement of 1966.

The solidarity of the international community with Guyana has been invaluable. We appeal to our sister countries of CARICOM and the broader international community to continue supporting the principles of justice and international law in relation to the controversy over Guyana’s border with Venezuela. Our collective voice can serve as a beacon for the respect of the United Nations Charter, the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
As Guyana prepares to join the UN Security Council, we are conscious of the responsibility that comes with this role – to encourage and support international peace and stability and the rule of law, and we encourage all peace-loving nations to insist on Venezuelan respect for the Charter of the United Nations and the UN’s highest court.

We are resolved to maintain our region as a Zone of Peace, and we invite all nations to join us in this noble pursuit.”

December 1, 2023

See ruling here: Order of 1 December 2023 (icj-cij.org)

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