ICJ postpones today’s case management hearing to Feb 26


The International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) continuation of its hearing into the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, which was supposed to get underway today with a case management hearing, has been postponed to February 26, 2021.

This was confirmed when this publication made contact with Guyana’s Agent on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Carl Greenidge. Greenidge, who is also the Government’s Advisor on Borders, noted that they were informed by the ICJ of the postponement ahead of time.

The case management conference was initially scheduled for today, after being postponed from January 15 for undisclosed reasons. At the time, Greenidge had noted that at the upcoming case management conference, the Court will decide on the time to be allotted to each of the parties, they will find out whether Venezuela will participate and they will also give an opportunity to clear up any matters to deal with the procedures which the parties or the court may have.

Guyana approached the World Court in 2018 seeking a final and binding judgement to reinforce that the 1899 Arbitral Award remains valid and binding on all parties, and legal affirmation that Guyana’s Essequibo region, which contains much of Guyana’s natural resources, belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela.

However, earlier this month the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela issued a decree claiming sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River – a move which President Dr Irfaan Ali has staunchly rejected.

The Guyanese leader declared on January 9 that Venezuela’s maritime border claim is a “legal nullity” that will not be recognised by Guyana or any other State in the world. He added that while this latest move by the Spanish-speaking nation is “deeply disturbing”, it will not deter Guyana’s resolve to seek a final and binding resolution at the ICJ.

However, in the past few days, there has been an escalation of tension, brought on by Venezuela’s detention of the 11-member crew of two Guyanese-registered fishing vessels – the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – off the coast of Waini Point in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).