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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 December 2021
On December 18, 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down its decision on the jurisdiction of the Court in the case concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela). By a 14–2 majority, the Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to decide certain elements of the application submitted unilaterally by Guyana against Venezuela, while it concluded unanimously that it lacks jurisdiction over other aspects of Guyana's application. Having established jurisdiction over certain elements of Guyana's application, the ICJ will now proceed to hear the merits of the claims.
1 Award regarding the Boundary between the Colony of British Guiana and the United States of Venezuela, October 3, 1899, RIAA, vol. XXVIII, pp. 331–40.
2 Severo Mallet-Prevost, Memorandum Left with Judge Schoenrich Not to be Made Public Except at His Discretion after My Death (1949) 43 A.J.I.L. 528–30.
3 Agreement to resolve the controversy over the frontier between Venezuela and British Guiana, signed at Geneva on February 17, 1966, U.N.T.S. No. 8192.
4 Arbitral Award of 3 Oct. 3, 1899 (Guy. v. Venez.), Judgment on Jurisdiction (Dec. 18, 2020), ¶¶ 23–28.
5 Id., ¶¶ 64–65.
6 Id., ¶ 74.
7 Id., ¶ 99.
8 Id., ¶ 86.
9 Id., ¶ 113.
10 Id., ¶ 115.
11 Id., ¶¶ 135–36.
12 Id., ¶ 137.
13 News reports indicate that officials from the United States and Bahamas have expressed support. For the United States, see: US supports ICJ's decision to settle Guyana-Venezuela border dispute, Jamaica Observer (Jan. 12, 2021), https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/us-supports-icj-s-decision-to-settle-guyana-venezuela-border-dispute_211915?profile=1031; for the Bahamas, see: Bahamas supports Guyana in border controversy with Venezuela, Guyana Chronicle (Jan. 18, 2021), https://guyanachronicle.com/2021/01/18/bahamas-supports-guyana-in-border-controversy-with-venezuela.
15 Dissenting Opinion of Judge Abraham, ¶ 17; Dissenting Opinion of Judge Bennouna, ¶ 11.
16 Simón Gómez and Moisés A. Montiel Mogollón, A Commentary on the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela) jurisdiction ruling: The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Opinio Juris (Feb. 19, 2021), http://opiniojuris.org/2021/02/19/a-commentary-on-the-arbitral-award-of-3-october-1899-guyana-v-venezuela-jurisdiction-ruling-the-road-to-hell-is-paved-with-good-intentions.
17 This was established in Decree No. 4.415, published in the Official Gazette No. 42.046, dated January 13, 2021, http://www.mppre.gob.ve/en/2021/01/07/president-maduro-venezuelan-atlantic-front.
18 Caricom concerned about Venezuela's plan to establish territory in disputed region of Guyana, Jamaica Observer (Jan. 12, 2021), https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Caricom_concerned_about_Venezuelas_plan_to_establish_territory?profile=0.
19 Organization of American States, Statement from OAS General Secretariat on Illegal Detention of Guyanese Vessels by Venezuela (Jan. 27, 2021), https://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-004/21.
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