Last updated on Friday, 18 December 2020, 12:00 by Denis Chabrol
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday ruled that it could hear Guyana’s case on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award and settled the land 1111111111111111`zuela, even as that Spanish-speaking country was criticized for not taking participated in the World Court jurisdiction hearing.
The decision was by a majority of 12 votes to 4 that the court had “jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by the Co-operative Republic of Guyana on March 29, 2018 insofar as it related to the validity of the Arbitration Award on October 3, 1899 and the related question concerning the definitive settlement of the land border dispute between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela.
The Court held that the ruling on jurisdiction was “final and binding on the parties.”
World Court President Abdulqawi Yusuf says that the validity of the 1899 Prize must first be settled before the boundary dispute is resolved. “It would not be possible to resolve the border dispute between the parties definitively without first determining the validity of the 1899 Prize on the border that will bridge Guyana and Venezuela.
The Court, therefore, concludes that Guyana’s claims about the validity of the 1899 Award for the border between British Guiana and Venezuela and the related question concerning the definitive settlement of the land border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela fall within the subject matter of the argument that the parties agreed to settle through the mechanism set out in Articles 1 to 4 of the Geneva Agreement, ”he said.
The World Court, the highest legal body of the United Nations (UN), unanimously finds that it has no jurisdiction to entertain Guyana’s allegations arising from events that occurred after the signing of the Geneva Agreement of 1966. Venezuela claims the Essequibo Region on the grounds that the 1899 Prize is void. For several decades now, there have been numerous raids and tactics to intimidate investors in Guyana’s gold, timber and oil industries in that region.
The World Court criticized Venezuela for not participating in the hearing on the question of its jurisdiction. “The Court wishes, first of all, to express its regret at the decision taken by Venezuela not to participate in the court case. The lack of a party clearly has a negative impact on a sound administration of justice, ”said the President of the Court. Although Venezuela forfeited the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of his case and counter his opponent’s claims, but that would not affect the outcome. “The Court emphasizes that a party’s lack of involvement in the case at any stage of the case cannot affect the validity of its ruling,” he said.
The Court said that it would consider Venezuela’s memorandum “to the extent it finds it appropriate” and that Venezuela is free to join the case at any time.