A press release issued by the International Court of Justice this morning confirmed that the Court was informed of a dispute between Guatemala and Belize by way of a special agreement.
Under the terms of the special agreement, the parties agreed to submit to the Registrar of the Court notices within a month after the referendum in each country and has approved submission of the dispute to the Court.
Belize made such submission on June 7th this year, while Guatemala entered their notice on August 21st 2018.
With that section of special agreement satisfied, the Court has acknowledged its juridical authority on the matter, and as the say, the ball is rolling.
So what’s next?
Article 3 of the special agreement indicates that the procedure will consist of two stages: one for presentation of written pleadings and another for oral hearings, and further provides the views of the Parties on the submission of the written pleadings and the time-limits thereof. Guatemala will present the details of its claim within one year from today. Belize will then have one year to respond to Guatemala’s claim.
The end goal is for the Court to determine in accordance with applicable rules of international law 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.
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