Despite saying ICJ has no jurisdiction, Venezuela now set to participate in upcoming hearings on referendum

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Despite the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela doubling down just days ago on its position that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) does not have jurisdiction on matters relating to the territorial controversy with Guyana, it will now participate in hearings next week. This relates to a controversial referendum the regime plans to hold on December 3 which includes questions regarding the creation of a new Venezuelan state in Guyana’s Essequibo region.

Venezuela’s referendum has no validity; language suggests use of “force or war” – CARICOM

Guyana filed an official request with the ICJ on October 30 for provisional measures that would block Venezuela from proceeding with the referendum. The ICJ then scheduled November 14 for hearings on these measures. However, in an update from the court yesterday (Nov. 9) the schedule has since been revised to include Venezuela’s oral argument on the matter, set to take place on November 15.

Guyana lawmakers unanimously pass motion rejecting Venezuela referendum

This follows a November 7 comment from Maduro in a post on X (formerly Twitter) in which he reaffirmed the country’s rejection of the ICJ’s jurisdiction. “Let no one be confused! Venezuela has never accepted the International Court of Justice…” Maduro said. He previously told Venezuela state press that the country “has never recognized nor will it recognize the ICJ for the resolution of this issue.”

Nevertheless, the revised schedule for the ICJ hearings is now as follows:

  • On Tuesday, 14 November 2023, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the oral argument will be presented by Guyana.
  • On Wednesday, 15 November 2023, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Venezuela will present its oral argument.

Guyana first filed an application instituting proceedings against Venezuela on March 29, 2018, seeking the Court’s confirmation of “the legal validity and binding effect of the Award regarding the Boundary between the Colony of British Guiana and the United States of Venezuela, of October 3, 1899”. This case is ongoing.

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