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ICJ’s decision on Guyana-Venezuela border controversy will be “binding”- Sir Shridath Ramphal

ExxonMobil’s Senior Director for the Americas, International Government Relations and Guyana’s top legal adviser in the border controversy with Venezuela, Sir Shridath Ramphal (right) speaking at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana,

Guyana’s top legal adviser in the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Sir Shridath Ramphal, on Wednesday said  when a decision is taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), it would be binding.

“The decision of the court will be binding,” he said.

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) at the Marriott Hotel, he said the controversy would not be heard by The Hague, Netherlands-based ICJ in an advisory capacity.

“It is not going to be in an advisory capacity. Unfortunately some pretty wild things have been said in Guyana which are far from legally accurate and this totally different from the advisory position that is possible under the Charter. This is not an advisory opinion,” said Sir Shridath, a former Foreign Minister of Guyana and former Commonwealth Secretary General.

He further explained that the ICJ would hear the case under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Agreement of 1966 that had provided for, among other means, mediation and judicial settlement.

Asked how long could this process could take before the ICJ makes its ruling, he said it could take years, but much depends on what Venezuela decides.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge said earlier this week that Venezuela would have to respect an advisory  opinion by the ICJ on the controversy.

The Guyana government has said that a US$18 million signing bonus with ExxonMobil would be used to pay legal fees to settle the controversy at the ICJ, also known as the World Court.

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres last month referred the border controversy to the ICJ after high-level UN mediation during 2017 failed to broker an agreement. Guyana maintains that the 1899 Award is full, final and perfect.