Sometimes these disputes are handled easily and swiftly. However, some disputes can span for decades upon decades.

No matter how perfect someone’s life might be, there will always be a period of their life that includes some sort of dispute. These disputes can span from very small, personal matters to very large, national matters. Sometimes these disputes are handled easily and swiftly. However, some disputes can span for decades upon decades. As an example, let us look at the dispute between the developing countries of Guyana and Venezuela. This dispute started in the later years of the 1800s. Said dispute is centred around the Essequibo area. In fact, Guyana and Venezuela were on the brink of war over this region. Luckily, before any blood was shed, the two countries agreed to settle this peacefully, and in court. In 1897, an Arbitral Tribunal was sent to figure out the borders in question. Two years later, the decision was handed down. The Arbitral Award ruled that the Essequibo region belonged to the British and the mouth of the Orinoco River was handed to Venezuela. Six years later, the matter was “permanently” settled in 1905 when the Commission formed an “Official Boundary Map” that was signed by all parties involved. That should have been the end of the dispute, but Venezuela changed their stance almost 63 years later. A “secret memorandum” that was supposedly written in 1944 by a Venezuelan junior counsel who was a part of the 1899 case brought something extremely important to the forefront. It was alleged that there was, in fact, collusion between a few of the parties, namely the Russian President of the Arbitral Tribunal and the British arbitrators. Based on this information, Venezuela decided that they were going to declare the 1899 ruling null and void. They refused to follow a ruling that was handed down in an unjust way. In 1966, the Geneva Agreement was agreed to but that did not change matters. In the following 47 years, Guyana and Venezuela attempted to work together to resolve the matters at hand. Things were going smoothly until 2013. It was in that year that things changed, and the situation became much more serious than it had been before. It was in this year, of 2013, that the Venezuelan government charged a captain of an oil searching rig with violating Venezuela’s exclusive economic zone. This rig was searching for oil based on an agreement between the vessel and the Guyana government. After Venezuela attempted to charge the captain of the boat, diplomatic relations between the two countries went south quickly. Guyana said that they had the freedom to look for and extract resources in their own territory, but the territory in question was that in which Venezuela had a dispute with. Since it appeared that this dispute was never going to end, the case finally found its way to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In the later part of March in 2018, three years after Guyana announced oil had been discovered, Guyana filed an application to the ICJ against Venezuela. Guyana wanted the ICJ to confirm the validity of the 1899 case, among a few other things. The dispute between Guyana and Venezuela goes to show that some disputes will last decades, and possibly centuries. This is especially the case when the dispute involves an unfair ruling or something of very high monetary value. In this case, the dispute features both.