November hearings set for Venezuela’s objections in border case with Guyana

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that it will hold public hearings in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela) – the matter concerning the controversy over the Essequibo region – from November 17-22, 2022.

There will be two rounds of oral arguments during the period. A release from the Court says the hearings will be streamed live.

The hearings will be held in person in the Netherlands at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court, and will be devoted to the preliminary objections raised by Venezuela.

Venezuela submitted the objections earlier this year to the admissibility of the ongoing case, resulting in a suspension of the hearing.

When this happened, the Guyana government, in notifying its people, said the Bolivarian Republic is attempting to delay the ICJ’s final judgment, since previously it had not recognised the jurisdiction of the ICJ to consider the case. Even when the Court ruled that it has the jurisdiction, Venezuela had held steadfast to its position that the Court does not.

The Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said it would submit its own observations. Nevertheless, Georgetown said that Caracas, by way of making the objection, joined the judicial proceedings.

The two neighbouring nations have been embroiled in a controversy regarding the Arbitral Award of 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela). Venezuela had started clamouring more about its claim for Guyana’s Essequibo region when oil discoveries by ExxonMobil in the offshore Stabroek block started to pile up. So, Guyana approached the Court in March 2018 asking it to rule on the validity of an 1899 pact that effectively settled the matter.

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