Ministerial Advisory Committee meets on Guyana-Venezuela border controversy

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The Ministerial Advisory Committee met today to discuss the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, a statement from the Department of Public Information revealed.

The committee is chaired by theMinister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd and co-chaired by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira.

During the meeting, the legal team updated the committee on the upcoming case management and other related matters.

The case management hearing on the Guyana’s substantive case before the World Court comes up on January 25.

It was initially scheduled for two weeks earlier, but was postponed after Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro renewed claims to Guyana’s maritime border west of the Essequibo Coast.

Guyana’s Agent on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Carl Greenidge had noted that, at the upcoming case management conference, the World 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 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.

Guyana’s March 2018 application to the ICJ was filed based on the recommendation of the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, following a failed good offices process between the neighbouring states.

In a majority decision on December 18, 2020, the ICJ ruled that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate over the border controversy case.

This was after Venezuela, which has refused to participate in the legal proceedings, wrote the court to say that the UN SG exceeded his authority under the 1966 Geneva Agreement when he referred the case to the ICJ, and therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter.

The ICJ found that both Guyana and Venezuela consented to judicial settlement when they signed the Geneva Agreement since the judicial process via the ICJ is one of the means available to the Secretary General in determining the controversy. Hence, the Court’s decision is binding on both parties.