Venezuela refuses to refer the territorial controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
25 de February de 2018
Letter from President Nicolás Maduro Moros addressed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in which he rejects the recommendation of the UN Secretary General to refer the territorial controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Next the full letter:
Caracas, February 25, 2018
Secretary General United Nations Organization.
Your Excellency Secretary General,
I am writing to you on the occasion of responding to your letter of January 30, 2018, regarding the choice of the method of peaceful resolution of the dispute maintained by the Boivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; In this regard, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela receives with concern, surprise and at the same time regrets the content of its letter, as it exceeds, like the letter signed on December 15, 2016 by your predecessor, Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, the powers granted to his investiture, and contravenes the spirit, purpose and reason of the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1996.
Likewise, it is appropriate to highlight that the responsibility of the figure of the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization (UN), contrary to what you affirm, does not derive from any framework established by your predecessor, but emanates from the mandate expressly established by the Geneva Agreement and the figure of the Good Offices mutually agreed upon by the parties.
In this sense, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is obliged to remember that the parties agreed to resort to the UN Secretary General, and to the Good Offices formula, given that there was no initial agreement in the selection of the solution method of the territorial controversy.
It is worth remembering that Venezuela has historically rejected the method of judicial settlement, which you are surprisingly proposing, since it violates the agreement in force that governs the territorial controversy, namely, the aforementioned 1966 Geneva Agreement.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, recalls, Mr. Secretary General, that the judicial settlement contravenes the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966, as it violates its preamble, which establishes, textatively, that the dispute must be “amicably resolved in a way that is acceptable to both parties.” Furthermore, it violates Article I, since it does not lead to “satisfactory solutions for the practical settlement of the controversy.”
In addition, it is widely known to you that resorting to the method of judicial settlement to resolve the controversy regarding Venezuelan sovereignty over the territory of Guayana Esequiba, is unacceptable since Venezuela does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as mandatory, and, in this sense, it has been consistent with its historical position to expressly reserve or not be a signatory to any Agreement, Covenant, Agreement, Treaty, Protocol or Annex that contains arbitration clauses that grant compulsory jurisdiction to said Court. Consequently, Your Excellency will understand that your proposal would be sterile, unacceptable, and contrary to the interests of Venezuela and its people.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is concerned, Mr. Secretary General, that there is an absolute ignorance of the background, or that it is expressly ignored, since they led the parties to resort to the UN Secretary General, and to the Good Offices formula, to advance the resolution of the controversy based on the just Venezuelan claim, product of the dispossession of which it was victim by the condemnable colonialist practices developed, in the 19th century, by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I would like to reiterate that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela considers it important to continue to have the Good Offices method, sponsored by the UN Secretary General, in the terms in which it was initially accepted by the parties, under the protection of the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966, as a tool that offers the opportunity to maintain a constructive and peaceful dialogue, and that allows the Good Official to dedicate himself to his work until both parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement; and not according to the criteria outlined by you, in your letter of January 30, 2018, since they limit the scope of the Agreement in force that governs the controversy, and configure an excessive and unacceptable discretion of the UN Secretary General.
Finally, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela thanks, on the other hand, that Your Excellency continues to be willing to offer the parties your good offices and mediation through your Personal Representative, and accepts this offer within the specific framework of the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966. My country is firmly determined to seek a practical and satisfactory settlement mandated by the Geneva Agreement, and I permit myself to reaffirm our readiness to continue that negotiation with sincere determination and commitment.
I would like to take this opportunity to express to you, Mr. Secretary-General, the assurances of my consideration and esteem.
Nicolás Maduro Moros