BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 18, 2021– This week, during an appearance on a local morning show, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Eamon Courtenay, gave an update on the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute that is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Netherlands.
In December 2020, Guatemala filed its official memorial to the ICJ, laying out the basis for its claim to Belizean territory. Many Belizeans have been clamoring to see the content of Guatemala’s claim, which has only been reviewed by Government officials, and, according to Minister Courtenay, by two former Prime Ministers — Rt. Hon. Said Musa and Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, who are arguably two of the most brilliant legal minds in the country.
Courtenay stated, however, that the public will have to wait until the case proceedings begin, which should take place within a few years, before seeing exactly what arguments have been presented by Guatemala and exactly what portions of the country are being claimed.
Belize has until June of next year to file a counter-memorial, which, in line with ICJ rules, will also only be viewed by a select few until the case proceedings start at the ICJ.
Minister Courtenay said that the team from Belize, comprised of our lead agent, Assad Shoman, and co-agent, Alexis Rosado, were scheduled to meet along with government officials in London in September to hash out the draft version of the country’s counter-memorial. That meeting was put off due to a surge in Covid-19 cases being seen worldwide.
Minister Courtenay said that the team set up by the UDP administration during the start of the ICJ submission process remains the same, and that the Opposition is playing an active role.