Guyana Venezuela border dispute to be settled by ICJ on Friday

The Guyana Venezuela border dispute is expected to reach its conclusion as the ICJ is set to release its judgement on Friday.

Nicaragua comes out in support of Venezuela in border dispute with Guyana. (Image Credits: Opinio Juris)
Nicaragua comes out in support of Venezuela in border dispute with Guyana. (Image Credits: Opinio Juris)

The Guyana Venezuela border dispute has captured the attention of the world in recent times, owing to the back and forth that both nations have been involved in. The matter reached a stage where the International Court of Justice had to intervene, making it a major talking point for the international community on the whole.

There is positive news on this front though, as the ICJ has announced that its judgement on the matter will be delivered on Friday, bringing an end to the speculation surrounding the issue.

The initial demand from Guyana was that of “the indication of provisional measures” to block Venezuela from unilaterally holding a referendum to claim ownership of the mineral rich forest region of Essequibo.

According to the official statement released by the ICJ on Tuesday, a public sitting will be held at 3 pm on Friday, during which the President of the Court, Judge Joan E. Donoghou will read the Court’s final order.

During a two-day hearing into the case with respect to the 1899 Arbitral Award, both nations presented their perspectives on the dispute, while Guyana pointed out that Venezuela had in fact prepared a list of five questions through its National Electoral Council, which would make its “Consultive Referendum”.

As mentioned previously, this was intended to take away the Essequibo region without the involvement of Guyana in the decision what so ever.

In 2018, Guyana applied to the International Court of Justice to determine the efficacy of the 1899 Arbitral Award, which set the borders between Venezuela and British Guiana, as it was known in those times.

Even during the sitting, representatives of Venezuela made it clear that the nation was prepared to follow through with its plans for conducting a referendum, despite the ongoing arbitration of the ICJ.

International Law Professor Makane Moïse Mbengue, appeared before the ICJ and gave his two cents on the matter, “The referendum is an internal domestic matter and is not meant in any way to result. in the annexation of the disputed territory.”

With regard to Venezuela’s decision to pursue the annexation of Guyana’s territories through a unilateral referendum, CARICOM, the Commonwealth Secretariate based in London and the Organisation of American States, have all rejected the referendum, calling it a violation of international laws and the sovereignty of Guyana.

President Irfaan Ali is already on his way to UNFCCC COP28 but is expected to return to Guyana by Saturday, December 2nd, one day prior to the scheduled date of the referendum.