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Venezuela backs down and joins Guyana’s border case at ICJ but engages in delaying tactics- Foreign Ministry

Last Updated on Wednesday, 8 June 2022, 21:08 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government on Wednesday criticised Venezuela’s objection to admissibility of Guyana’s case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a move aimed at delaying a ruling , but at the same time said it marked that Spanish-speaking neighbour’s participation in the legal proceedings.

The Foreign Ministry said it welcomed Venezuela’s decision to finally participate in the legal proceedings. “Nonetheless, by its action, the Venezuelan government now joins the judicial process which Guyana had always urged it to do- a step that Guyana welcomes, confident of the validity of its position on the merits of the case,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.  Before the letter from the ICJ Registrar advising that Venezuela has submitted preliminary objections, Venezuela had maintained that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and that the two countries should return to mediation.

After stating that it was fed up that the United Nations Secretary General’s 50-year long mediation process had not yielded success to settle the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award, Guyana filed its case with the ICJ on March 29, 2018.

Guyana accused Venezuela of using the route of filing the Preliminary Objections to stall the case because the rules of the court dictate that hearing of the merits of the case are now put on hold. “The Ministry recognizes that the Rules of Procedure of the ICJ allow for such an objection to be lodged and considered by the Court, and that, as a consequence, the proceedings on the merits of the case are suspended until the Court rules on the Preliminary Objections.”

“Observing that Venezuela had previously not recognized the jurisdiction of the Court to consider the case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also notes that, by submitting an objection at this advanced stage of the proceedings before the ICJ, the Venezuelan Government is patently engaging in an effort to delay the Court’s final judgement on the merits of the case,” the Foreign Ministry also said.

The ministry added that the Guyana government would dispatch its observations as soon as the Court advises of the time by which it expects to receive them. The Foreign Ministry emphasised that, at all times, Guyana has steadfastly adhered to the rule of international law and the rules and procedures of the ICJ with regard to this matter, and we will continue to do so.