General

GoB tells media that Belize’s case at the ICJ is iron clad

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington said Wednesday that Belize has an airtight case and is sure to win should we take the Belize-Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Elrington, speaking at a media sensitization forum at the Radisson Hotel, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Referendum Committee, said in his 36 years of practicing law he has never seen legal opinions that favor a case as strongly as the supporting legal arguments for Belize.
The forum was designed to explain the merits of Belize’s case at the ICJ, and to underscore the importance of the electorate’s vote in the upcoming referendum.
CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado, H.E. Ambassador Stuart Leslie and Dr. Herman Byrd, of the Archives Department, were also present at the forum.
Dr. Byrd, in his presentation, explained that when Guatemala and Great Britain signed the 1859 Treaty, Guatemala essentially accepted Belize’s borders. Byrd said that Guatemala’s argument, which is based on the subsequent breach of that treaty, is not enough to dematerialize the entire treaty.
CEO Rosado spoke on the “Special Agreement” signed by Belize and Guatemala on December 9, 2010, in Washington, D.C.
He explained that Guatemala wanted the ICJ to consider making the ruling without taking into consideration the treaties. However, representatives of Belize insisted that the Special Agreement affirm that the court would only consider the treaties, because in those treaties Belize’s victory is assured.
Ambassador Leslie spoke on the Referendum Committee’s education campaign, which is to precede the upcoming referenda, to be held simultaneously in Belize and Guatemala on October 6.
Leslie stated that the committee would be utilizing every form of traditional and social media to educate the Belizean public on the importance of voting in the referendum, because the laws of Belize require 60 percent of the electorate to vote “yes” for it to be valid.
He also stated that in the event that the referendum fails, he feels that Guatemalan incursions will only worsen and Belize will also be faced with financing the work of the Organization of American states in the Adjacency Zone.
Speaking on the risks involved in going to the ICJ,Minister Elrington stated that the worst case scenario, in his opinion, is the possibility that Belize could lose a portion of it’s maritime space.

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