World Court schedules Nov. 14 hearings to consider measures on controversial Venezuela referendum

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The International Court of Justice, otherwise called the World Court, has scheduled public hearings for Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. 

The overarching case under contention is the question of the validity of the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela). However, the hearings are specific to the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Guyana on October 30, 2023. The urgency of this request stems from a recent action taken by the Venezuelan Government. On October 23, 2023, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced its intention to hold a ‘Consultative Referendum’ on December 3, 2023. This referendum includes five questions aimed at garnering public support for Venezuela to withdraw from the current proceedings before the Court and instead adopt unilateral measures to “resolve” the controversy by “formally annexing and integrating into Venezuela all of the territory at issue in these proceedings,” an area that constitutes “more than two-thirds of Guyana.”

The schedule for the hearings is as follows:

– On Tuesday November 14, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the oral argument will be presented by Guyana.

– Following this, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Venezuela will present its oral argument.

President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, said recently that Venezuela does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has affirmed its jurisdiction twice during this case’s proceedings since 2018.

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 3 October 1899.”

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