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Minister Elrington and Ambassador Rosado discuss ICJ with Students in Cayo

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2018. 11:04 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: This morning Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington and Ambassador Alexis Rosado made an in-depth presentation on the Belize-Guatemala dispute and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to over 300 students in the auditorium at Sacred Heart College in San Ignacio, Cayo.

Ambassador Rosado provided the students with a chronological history of the dispute, including the efforts made over the last 150 plus years to settle the claim, and leading up to the signing of the confidence building measures and the signing of the special agreement between Belize and Guatemala in 2007.

The various incidents of tensions that occurred along the border, or due to the border dispute, and the continued incursions over the years were highlighted. Students were informed about the statutes, foundations and principles of how the ICJ operates, the legal strength of Belize’s case and the weak foundations of Guatemala’s case.

Ambassador Rosado also outlined examples of cases that the ICJ has ruled on that are similar to Belize’s case, and that once boundaries have been established, that the ICJ has ruled in all cases to uphold those boundaries.

According to Ambassador Rosado, the only case where Belize’s boundaries are not clearly defined, or are limited, is the marine boundary in our southern waters as they are not agreed upon and are de-limited by the Maritime Areas Act.

Specific statements made by former Guatemalan Foreign Ministers, particularly one made by Gert Roshenthal, were cited.

Rosado claimed that Rosenthal clearly stated that Guatemala does not have a legal case, but that going to the ICJ represents the only way to get Guatemala off the hook. Accordingly, Guatemalan politicians are bound by the 1997 ruling of that country’s constitutional court that ruled the 1859 treaty as invalid and so cannot on their own ‘wipe’ away the territorial dispute.

Minister Elrington was asked about a past statement he made on Belize’s ‘artificial borders’ and he gave a presentation clarifying what he means by the word ‘artificial’

The presentation began at 10:00 am and was organized by the history class.

However, all sixth form students from Sacred Heart Junior College as well as the fourth form students from the high school were invited to participate.

Some students participating noted that the presentation was very informative.

Recommendations were made to repeat the presentations to smaller groups, and to launch a special effort to get Belizean youths more involved and informed.

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