Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said last week that government anticipates that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will provide a ruling on the Guyana-Venezuela controversy by next year. The judgment will address the already established validity of the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899.

The 1899 Award, which delineated the boundary between the two South American nations, has been contested by Venezuela since 1962. Following unsuccessful negotiations under the United Nations Good Offices Process, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres referred the matter to the ICJ in 2018.

“(The judgement) With Venezuela fully participating in the process, could be end (of) next year. That’s the outer timeline but this is dependent entirely on the ICJ,” Jagdeo stated, underlining the significance of Venezuela’s cooperation for expediting the proceedings.

Despite Venezuela’s non-recognition of the ICJ’s jurisdiction, evidenced by President Nicolas Maduro’s recent enactment of the ‘Organic Law for the Defense of Guayana Esequiba’, Guyana remains optimistic about Venezuela’s participation in the case by submitting its counter memorial. Jagdeo at his press conference last week, welcomed Venezuela’s submission to the ICJ, while emphasizing Guyana’s stance that Venezuela lacks evidence to challenge the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award.

In contrast to Jagdeo’s recent projection, in December, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, offered a more extended timeline for the ICJ’s judgment during a symposium last year at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC). Nandlall had indicated that the case might not see a final judgment until after 2026, citing Venezuela’s deliberate efforts to prolong the proceedings.

“At the level of the ICJ, the timelines are… long,” remarked Nandlall, emphasizing Venezuela’s tactics to delay the process, including last-minute submissions and requests for extensions.

Nandlall nonetheless stressed the importance of vigilance during the interim period and highlighted the necessity of continued international support.


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