On Sunday, March 18, 2018, the people of Guatemala will go to referendum to decide whether or not to take its territorial dispute with Belize to the International Court of Justice.
Guatemalan media reported that the government announced the official date on Monday. On March 18, Guatemalans will answer either “yes” or “no” to the question, “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize on continental and island territories and any maritime areas corresponding to such territories shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final determination and that (the court) shall determine the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the parties?”
The Government of Belize has stated earlier this year that it does not intend to go to a referendum before the municipal elections, scheduled for March 2018.
In 2012, Belize and Guatemala had agreed to simultaneous referenda on October 6, 2013: however, Guatemala withdrew from the referendum arrangement, halting the process. Guatemala had argued that holding the referendum was an expensive exercise, and the country did not want to commit to it because it was unsure of Belize’s commitment to the process.