The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that notification of the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 2008, along with its Protocol of 2015, was deposited to the Registrar of the Court in The Hague, Netherlands, today, June 7, 2019.
Article 8 of the Special Agreement as amended provides that the Registrar of the Court shall be notified of the Special Agreement jointly or by either of the Parties within a month after the referendum in each country has approved submission of the dispute to the ICJ. Guatemala notified the ICJ of the Special Agreement after it successfully held its referendum on April 15, 2018. Belize’s notification, therefore, perfects the consent of both parties to the jurisdiction of the Court to determine Guatemala’s legal claims in accordance with Article 2 of the Special Agreement.
Belize’s notification today activates the written procedure under the Special Agreement, which provides that Guatemala shall present its memorial within one year of the date on which the Special Agreement was notified to the Court. It is expected, therefore, that Guatemala will submit its claim no later than June 7, 2020. After receiving Guatemala’s memorial, Belize will have one year to respond.
The letter of notification by Belize to the Court was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington and delivered by hand by H.E. Dylan Vernon, Ambassador of Belize in Belgium, to the Registrar of the ICJ.