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‘Litigation risk’ is the single issue most harmful to saying ‘Yes’ to the ICJ 

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018. 4:40 PM. CST.

By BBN Staff: Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, has been using social media in the last few weeks to clearly outline his rationale for saying ‘Yes’ to the ICJ. Today, he posted his fourth reason on his Facebook page. Saldivar firmly believes that “the single issue most harmful to the ‘YES’ movement is the matter of ‘litigation risk”. 

In his post, he outlined that Belizeans rightly fear, and would not accept, the smallest possibility of an alteration to our boundaries. 

“If I thought there was even a minute chance of the ICJ alternating our boundaries, I would not agree to go to the ICJ. I would fight and die first,” Saldivar argued. 

He pointed out that it was former Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Said Musa, who in 2007, said that the matter should be taken before an international tribunal for deliberation but according to “international law” only. 

According to the Minister of National Security, international laws establish that, “Once boundaries are determined by a treaty they cannot be unilaterally changed.”  He added that the ICJ has consistently ruled that it does not matter if a succeeding government does not agree with a boundary treaty agreed to by a previous government. 

He referenced the 1859 treaty between Britain and Guatemala where Belize’s borders were agreed upon and further cemented in the 1931 Exchange of Notes between the two (2) countries. Ambassador Alexis Rosado, Belize’s lead person on the ICJ education campaign has also consistently made the point that ‘existing borders’ and ‘treaties’, particularly those where borders are agreed to, both have a life of their own. 

Saldivar questions that if boundary treaties cannot be altered by one party, then what real determination could the ICJ make. 

He makes the case that if the ICJ’s ruling is based on international law then the ICJ will respect Belize’s right to self-determination. 

He then asked, “So why are we pushing this idea that the ICJ can impose a ruling not based in law? He goes on to ask, ” Who in the world can expect a people to accept such a flawed ruling?”. 

According to Saldivar, the idea that we must accept an erroneous ruling is what is discouraging Belizeans from voting YES in the upcoming referendum. 

He asserted that the only way that the ICJ can rule against Belize is in error, or bias, but that there are many, including him, who would resist that ruling until death. 

The referendum on this matter is scheduled for April 2019. 

 

 

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