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Court of Appeal in case management session on ICJ appeal

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Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019. 11:52 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Court of Appeal this morning convened a case management session concerning the matter of Prime Minister of Belize and others vs Michael Espat and others, otherwise known as the ICJ referendum case.

The two sides are meeting to potentially speed up the hearing of the direct appeal from the Government and cross-appeal by the Opposition after an April 3rd judgment by Supreme Court Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.

The Chief Justice granted an interim injunction restraining the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Chief Elections Officer and one other from holding or causing to be held the referendum on April 10th. While he disagreed that there was a serious issue to be tried in how Belize entered into the Special Agreement that precipitated the referendum in December of 2008, he saw potential issues in the presentation of writs of referendum issued earlier this year.

The Government subsequently passed a new Referendum Act removing jurisdiction over a referendum on the territorial dispute from the original Act, and new writs have been issued for May 8, rendering the originals null and void.

The Government earlier this week withdrew from efforts to seek the quashing of the injunction at the Supreme Court after being reminded they had appealed that decision.

We will have more as the day progresses.

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