THE HAGUE, 19 October 2001.The public hearings in the case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium) were concluded today.The Court will now start its deliberations.
During the hearings, which opened on Monday 15 October 2001, the delegations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Belgium were led respectively by H.E. Mr. Jacques Masangu-a-Mwanza, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Netherlands, and Mr. Jan Devadder, Director-General, Legal Matters, from the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Court’s Judgment, which is binding and without appeal, will be delivered in four to five months’ time.It will be read at a public sitting on a date to be announced in due course.
The Agents of the Parties presented the following submissions to the Court at the end of the oral proceedings.
For the Democratic Republic of the Congo :
“In light of the facts and arguments set out during the written and oral proceedings, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo requests the Court to adjudge and declare that:
1. by issuing and internationally circulating the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 against Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, Belgium committed a violation in regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the rule of customary international law concerning the absolute inviolability and immunity from criminal process of incumbent foreign ministers; in so doing, it violated the principle of sovereign equality among States;
2. a formal finding by the Court of the unlawfulness of that act constitutes an appropriate form of satisfaction, providing reparation for the consequent moral injury to the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
3. the violations of international law underlying the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 preclude any State, including Belgium, from executing it;
4. Belgium shall be required to recall and cancel the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and to inform the foreign authorities to whom the warrant was circulated that Belgium renounces its request for their co-operation in executing the unlawful warrant.”
For Belgium :”For the reasons stated in the Counter-Memorial of Belgium and in its oral submissions, Belgium requests the Court, as a preliminary matter, to adjudge and declare that the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case and/or that the Application by the Democratic Republic of the Congo against Belgium is inadmissible.
If, contrary to the submissions of Belgium with regard to the Court’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the Application, the Court concludes that it does have jurisdiction in this case and that the Application by the Democratic Republic of the Congo is admissible, Belgium requests the Court to reject the submissions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the merits of the case and to dismiss the Application.”
Internal Judicial Practice of the Court with respect to deliberations
The Court will first hold a preliminary discussion, at which the President will outline the issues which require discussion and decision by the Court. This discussion will be followed by a full deliberation, at the end of which, on the basis of the views expressed, a drafting committee will be chosen by secret ballot.That committee will in principle consist of two judges holding the majority view of the Court, together with the President, if he shares that view.
The committee will prepare a draft text, which will first be the subject of written amendments and will then go through two readings.In the meantime, judges who wish to do so will prepare a declaration, a separate opinion or a dissenting opinion.
The final vote will be taken after adoption of the final text of the Judgment at the second reading.
NOTE FOR THE PRESS
The full transcripts of the hearings of 15-19 October 2001 can be found on the Court’s website at the following address:www.icj-cij.org (see under “Docket”).
Information Office:Mr. Arthur Witteveen, First Secretary of the Court (tel:+31 70 302 2336)Mrs. Laurence Blairon, Information Officer (tel:+31 70 302 2337)E-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org