Venezuela will not participate in ICJ case on border controversy

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The Government of Venezuela has disclosed that it will not be participating in the international court case to bring to an end the decades old border controversy with Guyana.

The Venezuelan government, in a statement today indicated that this has been communicated to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Earlier this year, the matter was transferred to the ICJ, by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, however, Venezuela had objected to that move.

In the statement, the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “the Venezuelan delegation has informed the president of the court, through a letter signed by the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, of its sovereign decision not to participate in the procedure that Guyana intends to initiate, since the Court manifestly lacks jurisdiction over an action unilaterally proposed by the neighbouring country, which does not have the consent of Venezuela”.

The decision was made after a meeting took place at The Hague between the Venezuelan delegation led by Vice President Delcy Rodríguez, accompanied by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, along with President of the ICJ Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf.

Venezuela wants the diplomatic channels to be reopened, but Guyana believes that the UN Good Offices process has been exhausted. The Secretary General had made it clear that he would have been referring the matter to the ICJ if the Good Offices process offered no results by the end of 2017.  He has stuck to that promise.

The Venezuelan delegation had been invited to the Court to begin filing its proceedings in the matter.

A similar invitation was also extended to Guyana, which already has its legal team in place.

Guyana has been pushing for a judicial settlement to bring an end to the border controversy.  Venezuela has been claiming two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, although the matter was settled back in 1899.