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Oct 22, 2018

Professor Explains Process at I.C.J. If Belize Says Yes

A group of Belizean media sat down with an international law lecturer at the Mexican Autonomous University in Mexico City last Friday. Professor Carlos Bernal shared his experience as a legal advisor for Mexico in its case at the I.C.J. Bernal asserts that Belize should take the claim to the I.C.J., he also acknowledges there are litigation risks.  He was also asked about a scenario where Belize votes yes.

 

Carlos Bernal

Carlos Bernal, Professor of International Law, Mexican Autonomous University

“What happens…the claim of both countries is introduced to the court, in The Hague. The president of the court, I don’t know when this will be, says well we have to start proceedings. At the International Court of Justice, if you read the rules, there are very few. Why? Because the parties are sovereign nations and is not like persons. So once it is introduced, this has been presented, submitted, to the court, the judge in accordance or with agreement with the parties says how about Belize you have eight months to introduce what they call memorial. After eight months, Guatemala will have another eight months, exactly the same time as Belize. Once the two memorials have been filed, the president of the court will call the parties again and say when would you like to have the public hearing in the famous court in The Hague. The Belizean delegation will be here; the Guatemalan delegation will be there and the fifteen judges will be there. Actually there will be seventeen judges; I’ll tell you why seventeen and not fifteen. They hear there is a public hearing, it is agreed by both parties, we want three days—you Guatemala go in the morning, you Belize go in the afternoon, exactly three hours. It is very well organized. The languages are English and French. All the advisors I am sure will speak English so you will have no problem. The president of the court will say alright the trial is over and we have heard the parties, we have heard all the evidence, all the memorials, all the proofs, etc. And they retire and it takes a year, two years for the judgment.”


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