Venezuela rejects World Court’s jurisdiction to hear border controversy with Guyana

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 December 2020, 20:34 by Denis Chabrol

Venezuela has rejected the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to accept jurisdiction to hear the controversy over the 1899 settlement of the land boundary with Guyana.

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela repudiates the ruling issued by the ICJ in the aforementioned terms, while claiming, once again, the validity of the 1966 Geneva Agreement and ratifying that it will continue to exercise  its just claim, given the grotesque fraud that the Arbitration Award of 1899 implied to the detriment of their territorial integrity,” the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said.

Insisting that the 1966 Geneva Agreement is the only avenue to settle dispute bilaterally through “friendly negotiations”, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry reiterated its rejection of the judicial route. The Nicolas Maduro administration argued that the World Court was “incapable of reaching the practical and satisfactory settlement.”

“In this sense, Venezuela has been and is willing to engage in these friendly negotiations to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement,” the Foreign Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital said. Both the People’s Progressive Party Civic and People’s National Congress Reform-led coalition administrations have agreed that the United Nations-led mediation process has failed to reach agreement on settling the controversy.

“By deciding that it possesses jurisdiction over the validity of the 1899 arbitration award based on Guyana’s unilateral claim, the ICJ commits an incomprehensible and unusual error, not only in terms of the consent not given by Venezuela to said jurisdiction, but by admitting a object of dispute other than the substantial object of the dispute, as defined by the 1966 Geneva Agreement,” the Venezuelan government said.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry also accused the ICJ of violating its decades-old doctrine and extensive jurisprudence and the law clearly shows that the court itself lacks jurisdiction.

Citing international law and on the basis of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, Venezuela called on Guyana to begin negotiations with the aim of resolving  “this dispute peacefully.”

The Venezuelan government called on the Venezuelan people to unite around this national historical cause in the defense of their sovereign right over Guayana Esequiba and to reject a decision that is detrimental to law, history and justice.”

The ICJ last week found that its has jurisdiction to entertain Guyana’s claims concerning the validity of the 1899 Award about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela and the related question of the definitive settlement of the land boundary dispute between the territories of the Parties.