Saturday, April 20, 2024

Guatemala submits second memorial to the ICJ regarding the territorial, insular, and maritime claim over Belize


Guatemala submitted its reply to Belize’s counter-memorial regarding the territorial, insular, and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The case from Guatemala against Belize is to be settled at the international court in the Netherlands, Europe. Now, Belize must submit another reply known as the ‘rejoinder’ on June 8, 2023.
After these presentations of written pleadings, there will be oral hearings. In this process, the legal teams of both countries will make their presentations at the ICJ courtroom in The Hague, Netherlands emphasizing before the 15 judges why the disputed territory rightfully belongs to either of the parties. When ICJ makes its decision, which may take another couple of years, it will be final and binding, and both countries must comply with and implement the judgment in full and in good faith. Belize and Guatemala, through a Special Agreement, agreed that within three months of the date of the judgment, they would comply with the composition and terms of reference of a bi-national commission to carry out the demarcation of their boundaries following the decision of the ICJ.
The written presentations started in December 2020, when Guatemala submitted its memorial (legal documents) regarding the claim. Belize then submitted its response, counter-memorial, in June 2022, and Guatemala announced its latest submission on December 8, 2022.
According to a release from the Guatemalan government, their memorial was delivered to the ICJ by their Foreign Minister, Mario Adolfo Bucaroan’s agent and co-agent accompanied him. According to the release, their submission reflects all the factual and legal elements that bolster the Guatemalan claim maintained throughout the dispute and is the result of a meticulous and professional process by a team of experts with the highest reputation and those who represent and defend the Guatemalan interests in international litigation.
The Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute reached the ICJ following national referendums held in both countries. Belizeans and Guatemalans were asked to approve a proposition to settle the long-standing dispute at the ICJ. Guatemala held its referendum in 2018, and Belize in 2019. Despite some hurdles along the process, the ‘YES’ vote won.

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