ICJ ruling —can we be sure Belize will win?

Public hearing at the ICJ, the Hague, Netherlands.

PRAYER ALERT on ICJ ruling. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington has often made assurances that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would confirm Belize’s sovereignty against Guatemala’s claim. Belizeans have only to vote in favor of the upcoming referendum to take its case to the ICJ.

But could Belize match Guatemala’s $46 million campaign to go to the ICJ with its claim on Belize? Could Belize match Guatemala’s potential influence over the ICJ’s judges? Why should we trust Belize’s future to foreigners? We already occupy and have a UN-recognized government over Belize.

Even if the ICJ rules in Belize’s favor, would Guatemalans accept the ruling? Many Belizeans would never accept a ruling against Belize. How would the Guatemalans react? All their lives they have seen maps showing that Belize belongs to Guatemala. Most of them haven’t thought much about Belize otherwise. But now Guatemalans are witnessing a $46 million campaign. It gives them plenty of reasons to establish their claim on Belize once and for all. The referendum will stir up Guatemalan nationalist feelings. Worse yet, they won’t be hearing Belize’s side of the story.

What if the Guatemalans lose? They will decry the ruling as an unjust violation of a long-held precedent. Animosity will rise up against Belize. In view of this, what is Belize’s long-term plan for good relations with Guatemala after the ICJ ruling?

Belize Foreign Minister (left) with diplomats from Guyana and St. Lucia, at Bliss Institute, October 25, 2017.

I asked this question of Minister Elrington at an October 25th meeting on the border conflict. He replied that all the Guatemalans he knew would be relieved to lose the case. They already act as if Belize is sovereign. Their military works in harmony with ours. They acknowledge that the Sarstoon River is our southern border. They have no interest in asserting ownership of Belize. In fact, they want to get rid of their claim. But they can’t change their official records. So they’ll let the ICJ do that for them.

That may be the attitude in the diplomatic circles in which Minister Elrington travels. But Guatemala showed last year that it’s willing to send thousands of troops to our border when they have a serious disagreement with us. Thank God that at that time evangelicals from both countries met at the border to pray for peace. And that God answered by quickly defusing the crisis.

We need grace from God to reconnect with the evangelicals of Guatemala and promote right relationships between our two different countries.

PRAY WITH US. Father God, we thank You Jesus. Thank You for the grace and truth that comes through Him. We need grace to relate rightly with the Guatemalans. And we need the truth to come out about the differences between our two countries. Our border is mostly wilderness. We know so little about each other. Guatemalans are claiming what they do not understand. Belizeans resent the very idea of domination by a foreign power. We need peacemakers from both countries.

Thank You that You have already begun that good work. You brought Your people from both sides to pray at the border. You answered by calming our tensions. Now the tensions are growing again as we approach the International Court of Justice. Reconnect the peacemakers. Use them to promote mutual understanding, right relationships and harmony all across our countries. Begin a new partnership to overcome our common enemies—drug cartels, political corruption, and foreign LGBT agendas. Let Your judgment over our border prevail. Let Your plans to prosper us go forward. And let Jesus be exalted as Lord of all. Your kingdom come, Your will be done,in both our nations. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Read more

DailyInsight. There’s a difference between fighting words and winning words. Fighting words intensify conflicts. Winning words end them (see Eph. 4:30).

BPN articles related to ICJ ruling.

Two opposing parties back ICJ border mediation.

Louis Wade charges cloud GOB border pitch.

Guatemala border crisis —how to pray.

Evangelicals meet at Belize-Guatemala border.

Guatemala troops move near Belize border.

Guatemala Navy bullies at border as vote nears.

Belize & Guatemala again seek vote on border.

Related sources for ICJ ruling.

Guatemala Sends 3,000 Troops To Belize Border.


Keep Calm and Don’t Worry About Guatemala.


Keyword: ICJ ruling.

Many Belizeans don’t trust an ICJ ruling.


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