Last updated on Monday, 21 December 2020, 16:28 by Denis Chabrol
The International Court of Justice has said that Venezuela is bound by its decisions even if it does not recognize the jurisdiction of that UN legal body
“A ruling on jurisdiction, as on its merits, is final and binding on the parties under Articles 59 and 60 of the Statute,” the World Court said last Friday in ruling that it had jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s case on validity 1899 Arbitration Tribunal Adjudication of the land border between neighboring South American nations.
Venezuela, which has declined to participate in the jurisdiction hearings, has since reiterated that the ICJ has no jurisdiction in Guyana’s case and that the border dispute should be settled through negotiations between the two countries based on Caracas’ interpretation of the 1966 Geneva Treaty .
Nicolas Maduro has certainly “criticized” the ICJ’s decision, but the court already notes that while a party may be unable to take part in the case, it enjoys the legal right to make a decision. “The Court emphasizes that a party’s lack of involvement in the case at any stage of the proceedings may not, under any circumstances, affect the validity of its ruling,” the Court said in its decision. The judges also said that while there is no question of automatically ruling in favor of the party appearing, the refusing party cannot appear to be allowed to benefit from his absence. ”
At the same time, the ICJ judges, in their decision, severely criticized Venezuela for refusing to participate in the hearings about whether the court has jurisdiction. “First and foremost, the Court wishes to express its regret at the decision taken by Venezuela not to participate in the case before it,” the judges say in their 37-page decision.
ICJ Statute, which is an integral part of the United Nations Charter, states that under Article 53, whenever one party does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call on the Court to decide in favor of his claim ”and that the Court must, before doing so, satisfy itself not only that it has jurisdiction in accordance with Articles 36 and 37, but also that ‘ r the claim in fact and law.
Last Friday, ICJ judges noted that the lack of party appearance clearly has a negative impact on the sound administration of justice and, in particular, the party that does not appear to be missing the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of its own case himself to resist his opponent’s claims.
“For this reason, the Court does not have the assistance it could have derived from this information, and yet it must go ahead and make any necessary findings in the case,” said the ICJ.
Although Venezuela did not participate in the hearing on the jurisdiction of the ICJ, it had submitted a memorandum considered by the judges. The ICJ noted that the door was still open for Venezuela to participate in the case. “Should the examination of the present case extend beyond the present stage, Venezuela, which remains the Party in the case, may, if it so wishes, appear before the Court to present its arguments.
Venezuela believes that the 1899 Arbitration Tribunal is void. Guyana, however, continues to exercise its sovereign right to occupy the Essequibo Region.