ICJ’s ruling is a victory for Guyana and its people

Minister Nandlall says

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall said the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling this morning, that it had jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s case concerning the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award is a significant victory for the country and its people.

The Minister made this statement during a press briefing at his office following the hearing.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall

This has been a matter has been engaging our attention as a nation for the past 50 years and many endeavours have been taken, many efforts have been expended, many strategies have been employed but none has been able to yield a resolution of this matter.”

After exhausting the Good Offices Process from 1990 to 2017, with no significant progress made, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, as the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela did not jointly request that he refrain from doing so.

Venezuela objected, stating that the Court had no jurisdiction over this matter since they did not submit to the Court’s jurisdiction.

However, Minister Nandlall pointed out, based on the fact that Venezuela had subjected itself to the process administered by the UN; this allowed the majority of the ICJ judges to reach their judgement. The Court voted 12-4 in favour of jurisdiction.

“Those submissions were interpreted by the ICJ as sufficient acts to form a conclusion that they have submitted to the jurisdiction of the Court. Once that hurdle is cleared then it is now open for the Court to process, to hear the case on its merits or address its substantive issues raised by Guyana in the matter,” he explained.

If the Court had ruled differently, then the Government would not have had a civilised lawful mechanism available to resolve or even prosecute any further, the AG said.

AG Nandlall agreed with President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s sentiments that today’s ruling is a manifestation of what a united Guyana could achieve. This includes political parties putting aside partisan, political and other interests to work together to fight against Venezuela’s claims.

“We saw how strong we can be and how successful we can be when we tackle issues together so it means that this model of working together can be taken forward and manifest itself and multiply itself in every national endeavour and if you are able to do that then Guyana is poised for greatness,” the Attorney General said. In June 30, 2020, Guyana presented its case to the ICJ to determine whether the Court had jurisdiction to hear the matter emerging from Venezuela’s claims that the 1899 Arbitral Award settling the frontier boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void.

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