“Guyana’s ICJ case in good hands” – Sir Shridath Ramphal

first_imgGuyana/Venezuela controversyAs Guyana prepares to put together all the necessary documents before it files an official petition with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to challenge the Guyana/Venezuela controversy, Government’s top legal adviser in that case, Sir Shridath Ramphal has given his assurance that the matter is in good hands.While explaining that it is not to be seen as a failure on the part of Guyana that the Good Offices Process did not meet the objective, Sir Shridath told the local press on Thursday that the case has been referred to the ICJ under the Geneva Agreement that was agreed to prior to Guyana’s independence.The former Commonwealth Secretary General claimed that Venezuela has filibuster and tried to avoid the day when the matter would be sent to the ICJ. “But the day has come and the application (petition) is in train. When that is done, the case is in the hands of the ICJ,” he explained.Sir Shridath said Guyana could not expect better and it is for the country and its Government to establish to the world what has always been the case, which is sticking by the agreement that was signed.On that note, he said the case is in good hands and that the same team that won judicial proceedings with Suriname has been retained to fight this case. “We got to work again to finish the job,” he stated.The team which was headed by Paul Reichler, a partner in the Washington office of law firm Foley Hoag LLP, was successful. The matter was settled by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2007.Asked whether there would be any issues similar to that of the Guyana/Suriname where certain difficulties were encountered relating to sourcing supporting documents to fight their case, Sir Shridath said, “Well its much the same but the archives are in better condition and there are that rest all over the world because this is an international case. The arbitral tribunal sat in Paris and it has material there too.”Sir Shridath had said that the time frame in which this matter could be completed depends on the two parties involved. He said, “It is a very difficult question because it can depend on what Venezuela ultimately does that can determine the length of time, the character of the proceedings. It could be shorter if they persist they are not involved and if they change their minds, and it’s a full-fledged hearing, it could be longer. But you are talking about a matter of years.”He further explained that the ICJ would hear the case under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Agreement of 1966 that had provided for, among other means, mediation and judicial settlement.The coalition Government had said that it has plans to use a signing bonus of US$18 million received from ExxonMobil to stand the expense of a legal team. The money was however kept in a secret account at the Central Bank. This information was exposed by private media companies, including this newspaper.After years of mediation, the United Nations (UN) in January announced its decision to finally send the ongoing border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela to the ICJ. According to the UN’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, the decision came after careful analysis of the Good Offices Process.President David Granger has welcomed the Secretary General’s decision to refer the matter to the world court. According to Granger, “Guyana remains confident in the correctness of its case (and) looks forward to the reaffirmation of the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award before the (ICJ).”last_img

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