Border controversy: Following Venezuela’s refusal ICJ to now determine whether it has jurisdiction- Greenidge


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2019 will make a determination on whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear the matter relating to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

This was related by Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge who disclosed on Thursday that the delay was based by an objection by Venezuela which said it “does not recognise” the ICJ’s jurisdiction and will not participate in the arbitration.

“It will be sometime after February next year that the court will decide on jurisdiction,” The Foreign Affairs Minister posited.

Greenidge said that after such time, the court will proceed with the substantive case which could be heard in two years’ time.

In the meantime, the Foreign Affairs Ministry collaborated with the Education Ministry and launched two public service announcements (PSAs) on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy that seeks to inform and update the public on the ongoing matter which is currently gaining the attention of the ICJ in Hague, Netherlands.

UN Secretary General, António Guterres

Following the decision made by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, in choosing the ICJ as the next means of resolving the controversy that arose as a result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void, Greenidge, on March 29, submitted, on behalf of the Government, an application to the ICJ, requesting the Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

In its Application to the Court, “Guyana highlighted that Venezuela had, for more than 60 years, consistently recognized and respected the validity and binding force of the 1899 Award and the 1905 Map agreed by both sides in furtherance of the Award.”

Moreover, it was outlined that Venezuela had only changed its position formally in 1962 as the United Kingdom was making final preparations for the independence of British Guiana and had threatened not to recognize the new State, or its boundaries, unless the United Kingdom agreed to set aside the 1899 Award and cede to Venezuela all of the territory west of the Essequibo River, amounting to some two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

Guyana’s Application, notes that while Venezuela has never produced any evidence to justify “its belated repudiation of the 1899 Award, it has used it as an excuse to occupy territory awarded to Guyana in 1899, to inhibit Guyana’s economic development and to violate Guyana’s sovereignty and sovereign rights.”



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