Date set for ICJ Referendum Print E-mail
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Thursday, 03 May 2018 00:00

The Government of Belize has announced that the Cabinet has set a date for the referendum on the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In that referendum, the citizens of Belize will decide whether or not to take the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim to Belize’s land and insular territories, and to the maritime areas pertaining to them, to the ICJ for final settlement. In accordance with the Special Agreement and its protocol, the referendum will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already commenced and will step up its public awareness campaign which is being launched under the banner “ICJ, Be Informed.”  The nationwide campaign will include various approaches in an effort to reach citizens in every corner of the country.  Belizeans are encouraged to learn more about this very important issue which they will be asked to decide upon.

Guatemala held its referendum on the issue on Sunday, April 15, 2018. While there was a low voter turnout, only 24.97% of Guatemalans voting, the majority of those that did vote, voted “yes”. With 7.5 million registered voters, only 1.7 million voted in the referendum. A total amount of 95.87% voted yes.

The question that was put to the Guatemalan voters in the referendum, and which is the same question that will be put to Belizean voters when the ICJ referendum is held, was “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determines finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties?”