World Court gives Venezuela one year to file counter Memorial in Guyana border case

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The International Court of Justice has given Venezuela one more year to file a counter Memorial in the ongoing border case with Guyana – April 8, 2024. The case centers on the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award between Venezuela and Guyana.

On April 6, 2023, the Court rejected Venezuela’s preliminary objection against the admissibility of the case. The World Court’s recent judgment paved the way for the adjudication of the case within the scope of its December 2020 judgment settling its jurisdiction. 

After that ruling, the Court had set March 2022 and March 2023 as the respective deadlines for the filing of a Memorial by Guyana and a Counter-Memorial by Venezuela on the merits. Guyana filed its Memorial within the set time frame, and Venezuela subsequently raised its now rejected preliminary objection on June 7, 2022. The objection had the effect of suspending the proceedings, leading Guyana to label it a delaying tactic.

Tensions between the two nations have escalated in recent years since ExxonMobil discovered significant crude deposits in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana. Guyana controls the region in question and has the overwhelming support of the international community. 

Given the settlement of the Court’s jurisdiction, both nations should cooperate fully with the Court’s proceedings to reach a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict, but Venezuela has repeatedly condemned the judicial path as a viable solution. It made a statement to this effect even after the ICJ’s recent ruling.

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