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July 13
13:26 2018

Belize wanted an opinion well-grounded on international law which would give a clear and unbiased opinion of the true situation in strict accordance with the law.

Lauterpacht and his team pointed out that Belize’s ownership is supported by not one but two treaties — the Convention of 1859 and the 1931 Exchange of Notes. Both of these treaties are valid and binding!

Identification of the boundary pillars in the 1931 Treaty inescapably declares that the territory on the west of the boundary pillars belongs to Guatemala, and the territory on the east belongs to Belize. The 1859 Boundary Convention cannot be regarded as a treaty of cession as Guatemala claims, because Guatemala did not have any ownership of land to cede in the first place.

Even if Guatemala could revoke the 1859 Treaty, there is still the 1931 border convention to deal with. Even if, against all odds, Guatemala were able to get out from under the obligations of the1859 Treaty and the 1931 Convention, she would still not have legal title to any Belize land or offshore island because she never owned or possessed any of these.

Finally, if Guatemala had valid ownership of the land or offshore islands now in Belizean hands, the British claim to the land and its offshore islands are today firmly established by some 200 years of occupation, administration and prescriptive right of possession.

(To be continued)


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