Venezuela could face sanctions, travel restrictions, military actions for breaching ICJ order – AG

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For blatantly violating the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Venezuela could face further economic sanctions and travel restrictions, imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

This is according to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who revealed that Guyana could also be given military support, as ordered by the UNSC, following Venezuela’s breach of the World Court Order of December 1 in relation to the border controversy.

The UNSC, of which Guyana was elected as a nonpermanent member, is responsible for enforcing decisions delivered by the ICJ, Nandlall explained during his programme “Issues in the News” on Tuesday.

On December 1, the World Court ordered that, among other things, Venezuela shall refrain from taking any action which would modify the situation that currently prevails in the territory in dispute whereby Guyana administers and exercises control over that area.

However, the country has since violated the order.

The UNSC has since been informed of these dangerous developments and according to the Nandlall, there are a number of actions which can be taken.

“The UNSC has the power, at the request of the injured State, to take special measures to enforce judgements rendered by the ICJ,” Nandlall explained.

“…and it can take a range of measures to ensure compliance including economic sanctions, travel restrictions, and the use of military force,” he added, noting that the UNSC has had to take such actions in many cases.

Speaking on the non-military actions that can be taken by the UNSC, Nandlall explained that “the Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions and it may call upon the members of the UN to apply such measures.”

“These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations…and the severance of diplomatic relations.”

Nandlall explained that if those measures prove to be inadequate, stronger interventions can be made.

“[the Security Council] may take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade and other operations by air, sea or land forces of members of the United Nations.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali, during an interview with CNN, urged the United States to relook at its current policy of lifting sanctions against Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed that, among other things, he would now authorise oil exploration in Guyana’s Essequibo River, even though the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has not pronounced on the substantive border controversy case.

Maduro also claimed that he has announced the activation of a human and social care plan for the population of Guyana’s Essequibo that includes censuses and identity cards.

He also claimed to have announced the creation of the “High Commission for the Defense for Guyana’s Essequibo region; and the creation of the Comprehensive Defense Zone for Guyana’s territory.

The Venezuelan president also announced that in addition to oil, he will be issuing licences for mining and other activities to be conducted in Guyana’s Essequibo County.

Maduro has also announced a three-month period for companies already operating in the region to vacate.

The Maduro regime has since faced widespread international criticisms over its current posture.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has since reaffirmed support for Guyana’s sovereignty, during a phone call with President Ali.

“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ call for a peaceful resolution to the dispute and for all parties to respect the 1899 arbitral award determining the land boundary between Venezuela and Guyana, unless, or until, the parties reach a new agreement, or a competent legal body decides otherwise,” a statement from Blinken’s office outlined.

“The Secretary reiterated that the United States looks forward to working closely with Guyana once it assumes its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in January 2024.  The two leaders concluded the call by agreeing upon the importance of maintaining a peaceful and democratic Western Hemisphere,” the statement added.