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Jun 12, 2019

I.C.J. Seized of Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute

The International Court of Justice has issued a release informing that it remains in consideration of a matter involving a dispute between Guatemala and Belize via a special agreement which dates back to December 2008.  The statement from the I.C.J. comes five days after Belize formally submitted a notification to the World Court which was hand delivered by Ambassador Dylan Vernon.  Belize and Guatemala request the I.C.J. to determine, in accordance with applicable rules of international law as specified in Article 38 (One) of the statute of the court, any and all legal claims of Guatemala against Belize to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories, to declare the rights therein of both parties, and to determine the boundaries between their respective territories and areas.  Following the announcement this morning, News Five caught up with Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte who spoke briefly on the latest development.


Mike Peyrefitte

Mike Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“After the referendum and we voted yes, Guatemala having voted yes before even that, we indicated to the I.C.J. that both countries had agreed to go to them for the case.  Once we amended the Maritime Areas Act and gave them the results of the referendum, we packaged it all together and Ambassador Vernon delivered the package with the notice to the I.C.J. that we are going to the I.C.J.  Subsequently then, the I.C.J. has responded only [to say] that they have received our package and we are in the stream to head towards court and we expect to have a hearing in about three to four years depending on the filing.  So what happens now pretty much is a lull in terms of official happenings.  Belize now will start to build its case, start to gather our evidence to prove that the claim is an unfounded one.  So we will gather our evidence to prove that, at the same time we will also anticipate what Guatemala could possibly be claiming and we will be preparing to refute that.  We don’t think that we will have any difficulty in doing that because as I’ve always indicated, I believe we have a very, very strong case.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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