President Nicolás Maduro expresses the position of not participating in the judicial process initiated by Guyana
18 de June de 2018
Letter from President Nicolás Maduro Moros addressed to the President of the ICJ, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, expressing the position of not participating in the judicial process initiated by Guyana.
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Caracas, June 18, 2018
Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf
President of the International Court of Justice
I am pleased to write to you, in your capacity as President of the Honorable International Court of Justice, regarding the letter received on March 29, 2018, from the Secretary of the Court.
In this regard, allow me, Excellency, to express the following:
Venezuela and Guyana are committed by mandate of the Geneva Agreement to reach an amicable, practical and satisfactory settlement for both Parties to their controversy over Guayna Essequiba.
However, Guyana abandoning this purpose to which both States are committed through the Giebra Agreement, intends that the ICJ pave a procedure to hear this controversy by departing from said arrangement.
To this end, it has filed a lawsuit in which it alleges that “the Court would have jurisdiction over this controversy pursuant to the first paragraph of Article 36 of its Statute, by virtue of the mutual consent of Guyana and Venezuela conferred by them in Article IV, second paragraph of the 1966 Geneva Agreement. In said provision of the Agreement, both mutually conferred authority on the Secretary General of the United Nations to choose the means of dispute resolution and, on January 30, 2018, the Secretary-General exercised his authority in choosing the solution by the Court.”
Thus, Guyana’s argument is based on two concomitant elements: a) an alleged consent granted by Venezuela to go to this honorable Court, allegedly inscribed within the Geneva Agreement, although, as its name indicates, this bilateral treaty is directed to reach a friendly settlement and b) the decision of the UN Secretary General to recommend the ICJ.
For these purposes, above all, Venezuela recalls that it has never accepted the jurisdiction of this honorable International Court of Justice, for reasons of its historical tradition and fundamental institutions. Much less would it accept the unilateral presentation of the request made by Guyana, as well as the form and content of the claims expressed therein.
Excellency, very respectfully we report that since Venezuela did not accept the jurisdiction of the Court in relation to the controversy referred to in the so-called “lawsuit” filed by Guyana nor the the unilateral presentation of said dispute, there is no basis that may establish, even a prima facie, the Court’s jurisdiction to consider the claims of Guyana.
The so-called “lawsuit” presented by Guyana does not correspond in any way to the procedures regulated by the Statute, nor by the Regulations of the Court and should be considered subject to Article 38, paragraph 5, of the Regulations of the Court that prevents its inclusion in the General List as well as any procedural act “until the State against which the request is made has not accepted the jurisdiction of the Court for the purposes of the matter in question.”
In the absence of any provision in Article IV, paragraph 2, of the 1966 Geneva Agreement (or in Article 33 of the UN Charter, to which said provision refers) on (i) the jurisdiction of the Court and (ii) the modalities to resort to it, the establishment of the jurisdiction of the Court, requires, in accordance with a well-established practice, both the express consent granted by both parties in the dispute to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court and a joint agreement from the Parties notifying the submission of said dispute to the Court.
The sole object, purpose and legal effect of the decision of January 30, 2018 of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article IV of the Geneva Agreement, is “to choose” a specific means for the friendly settlement of the controversy.
On the other hand, the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 36 of the Statute and the modalities to go to it in accordance with Article 40 of the Statute, are not regulated by the Geneva Agreement. In the absence of an agreement between the Parties expressing their consent to the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 36 and, in the absence of an agreement between the Parties accepting that the dispute may be brought before the Court unilaterally, and not jointly, as established in Article 40, there is no good basis for jurisdiction of the Court regarding the so-called “Guyana lawsuit”.
Under these circumstances, and taking into account the foregoing considerations, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will not participate in the procedure that the Cooperative Republic of Guyana intends to initiate by unilateral action.
Venezuela reiterates its strictest adherence to the legal provisions for the resolution of this dispute through the Geneva Agreement that commits the Parties to reach a practical and mutually satisfactory settlement through friendly negotiations. Consequently, its takes the opportunity to reiterate its permanent invitation to Guyana for this purpose, encouraged by its impregnable diplomacy of peace and good neighborliness.
Your Excellency, while thanking for your attention to this communication, I wish to tell that we are sure of being able to reach an agreement mutually acceptable to both parties as established by the legally binding Agreement, and validly deposited within the United Nations, which unequivocally regulates the Territorial Controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, where direct negotiation will allow, without doubt, to reach a final resolution in favor of peace for the peoples of Guyana and Venezuela.
I avail myself of the opportunity to express to you the assurances of my distinguished consideration.
Nicolás Maduro Moros