14 February 2002

 

General List No. 121

 
     

international Court of Justice

     
 

Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000

 
     

Congo

 

v. 

Belgium

     
     
 

Judgement

 
     
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BEFORE:

President: Guillaume;
Vice-President: Shi;
Judges: Oda, Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal;
Judges ad hoc: Bula-Bula, Van den Wyngaert

   
PermaLink: http://www.worldcourts.com/icj/eng/decisions/2002.02.14_arrest_warrant.htm
   
Citation: Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Dem. Rep. Congo v. Belg.), 2002 I.C.J. 3 (Feb. 14)
   
Represented By: Congo: H.E. Mr. Jacques Masangu-a-Mwanza, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as Agent;
H.E. Mr. Ngele Masudi, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals;
Maitre Kosisaka Kombe, Legal Adviser to the Presidency of the Republic, Mr. Francois Rigaux, Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain;
Ms Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Professor at the University of Paris VII (Denis Diderot), Mr. Pierre d'Argent, Charge de cours, Catholic University of Louvain, Mr. Moka N'Golo, Batonnier;
Mr. Djeina Wembou, Professor at the University of Abidjan, as Counsel and Advocates;
Mr. Mazyambo Makengo, Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Justice, as Counsellor;

Belgium: Mr. Jan Devadder, Director-General, Legal Matters, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Agent;
Mr. Eric David, Professor of Public International Law, Universite libre de Bruxelles, Mr. Daniel Bethlehem, Barrister, Bar of England and Wales, Fellow of Clare Hall and Deputy Director of the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, as Counsel and Advocates;
H.E. Baron Olivier Gilles de Pelichy, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, responsible for relations with the International Court of Justice, Mr. Claude Debrulle, Director-General, Criminal Legislation and Human Rights, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pierre Morlet, Advocate-General, Brussels Cour d'Appel, Mr. Wouter Detavernier, Deputy Counsellor, Directorate-General Legal Matters, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rodney Neufeld, Research Associate, Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge;
Mr. Tom Vanderhaeghe, Assistant at the Universite libre de Bruxelles.

 
     
 
 
     
 

[p.3]

THE COURT,

composed as above,

after deliberation,

delivers the following Judgment:[p 6]

1. On 17 October 2000 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereinafter referred to as "the Congo") filed in the Registry of the Court an Application instituting proceedings against the Kingdom of Belgium (hereinafter referred to as "Belgium") in respect of a dispute concerning an "international arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000 by a Belgian investigating judge . . . against the Minister for Foreign Affairs in office of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi".

In that Application the Congo contended that Belgium had violated the "principle that a State may not exercise its authority on the territory of another State", the "principle of sovereign equality among all Members of the United Nations, as laid down in Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Charter of the United Nations", as well as "the diplomatic immunity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a sovereign State, as recognized by the jurisprudence of the Court and following from Article 41, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on Diplomatic Relations".

In order to found the Court's jurisdiction the Congo invoked in the aforementioned Application the fact that "Belgium had accepted the jurisdiction of the Court and, in so far as may be required, the [aforementioned] Application signified acceptance of that jurisdiction by the Democratic Republic of the Congo".

2. Pursuant to Article 40, paragraph 2, of the Statute, the Application was forthwith communicated to the Government of Belgium by the Registrar; and, in accordance with paragraph 3 of that Article, all States entitled to appear before the Court were notified of the Application.

3. Since the Court included upon the Bench no judge of the nationality of either of the Parties, each Party proceeded to exercise the right conferred by Article 31, paragraph 3, of the Statute to choose a judge ad hoc to sit in the case; the Congo chose Mr. Sayeman Bula-Bula, and Belgium Ms Christine Van den Wyngaert.

4. On 17 October 2000, the day on which the Application was filed, the Government of the Congo also filed in the Registry of the Court a request for the indication of a provisional measure based on Article 41 of the Statute of the Court. At the hearings on that request, Belgium, for its part, asked that the case be removed from the List.

By Order of 8 December 2000 the Court, on the one hand, rejected Belgium's request that the case be removed from the List and, on the other, held that the circumstances, as they then presented themselves to the Court, were not such as to require the exercise of its power under Article 41 of the Statute to indicate provisional measures. In the same Order, the Court also held that "it [was] desirable that the issues before the Court should be determined as soon as possible" and that "it [was] therefore appropriate to ensure that a decision on the Congo's Application be reached with all expedition".

5. By Order of 13 December 2000, the President of the Court, taking account of the agreement of the Parties as expressed at a meeting held with their Agents on 8 December 2000, fixed time-limits for the filing of a Memorial by the Congo and of a Counter-Memorial by Belgium, addressing both issues of jurisdiction and admissibility and the merits. By Orders of 14 March 2001 and 12 April 2001, these time-limits, taking account of the reasons given by the Congo and the agreement of the Parties, were successively extended. The Memorial of the Congo was filed on 16 May 2001 within the time-limit thus finally prescribed.

6. By Order of 27 June 2001, the Court, on the one hand, rejected a request [p 7] by Belgium for authorization, in derogation from the previous Orders of the President of the Court, to submit preliminary objections involving suspension of the proceedings on the merits and, on the other, extended the time-limit prescribed in the Order of 12 April 2001 for the filing by Belgium of a Counter-Memorial addressing both questions of jurisdiction and admissibility and the merits. The Counter-Memorial of Belgium was filed on 28 September 2001 within the time-limit thus extended.

7. Pursuant to Article 53, paragraph 2, of the Rules, the Court, after ascertaining the views of the Parties, decided that copies of the pleadings and documents annexed would be made available to the public at the opening of the oral proceedings.

8. Public hearings were held from 15 to 19 October 2001, at which the Court heard the oral arguments and replies of:

For the Congo: H.E. Mr. Jacques Masangu-a-Mwanza,
H.E. Mr. Ngele Masudi,
Maitre Kosisaka Kombe,
Mr. Francois Rigaux,
Ms Monique Chemillier-Gendreau,
Mr. Pierre d'Argent.


For Belgium: Mr. Jan Devadder,
Mr. Daniel Bethlehem,
Mr. Eric David.
9. At the hearings, Members of the Court put questions to Belgium, to which replies were given orally or in writing, in accordance with Article 61, paragraph 4, of the Rules of Court. The Congo provided its written comments on the reply that was given in writing to one of these questions, pursuant to Article 72 of the Rules of Court.

*

10. In its Application, the Congo formulated the decision requested in the following terms:


"The Court is requested to declare that the Kingdom of Belgium shall annul the international arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000 by a Belgian investigating judge, Mr. Vandermeersch, of the Brussels tribunal de premiere instance against the Minister for Foreign Affairs in office of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, seeking his provisional detention pending a request for extradition to Belgium for alleged crimes constituting 'serious violations of international humanitarian law', that warrant having been circulated by the judge to all States, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which received it on 12 July 2000."

11. In the course of the written proceedings, the following submissions were presented by the Parties:

On behalf of the Government of the Congo,

in the Memorial:

"In light of the facts and arguments set out above, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo requests the Court to adjudge and declare that: [p 8]

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 DRC of the rule of customary international law concerning the absolute inviolability and immunity from criminal process of incumbent foreign ministers;

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 DRC;

3. the violation of international law underlying the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 precludes 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, following the Court's Judgment, Belgium renounces its request for their co-operation in executing the unlawful warrant."


On behalf of the Government of Belgium,

in the Counter-Memorial:

"For the reasons stated in Part II of this Counter-Memorial, 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 preceding submission, 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."

12. At the oral proceedings, the following submissions were presented by the Parties:

On behalf of the Government 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 war-[p 9]rant was circulated that Belgium renounces its request for their co-operation in executing the unlawful warrant."

On behalf of the Government of 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."

***

13. On 11 April 2000 an investigating judge of the Brussels tribunal de premiere instance issued "an international arrest warrant in absentia" against Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, charging him, as perpetrator or co-perpetrator, with offences constituting grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of the Additional Protocols thereto, and with crimes against humanity.
At the time when the arrest warrant was issued Mr. Yerodia was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo.

14. The arrest warrant was transmitted to the Congo on 7 June 2000, being received by the Congolese authorities on 12 July 2000. According to Belgium, the warrant was at the same time transmitted to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), an organization whose function is to enhance and facilitate cross-border criminal police co-operation worldwide; through the latter, it was circulated internationally.

15. In the arrest warrant, Mr. Yerodia is accused of having made various speeches inciting racial hatred during the month of August 1998. The crimes with which Mr. Yerodia was charged were punishable in Belgium under the Law of 16 June 1993 "concerning the Punishment of Grave Breaches of the International Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and of Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 Additional Thereto", as amended by the Law of 19 February 1999 "concerning the Punishment of Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law" (hereinafter referred to as the "Belgian Law").

Article 7 of the Belgian Law provides that "The Belgian courts shall have jurisdiction in respect of the offences provided for in the present Law, wheresoever they may have been committed". In the present case, according to Belgium, the complaints that initiated the proceedings as a result of which the arrest warrant was issued emanated from 12 individuals all resident in Belgium, five of whom were of Belgian nationality. It is not contested by Belgium, however, that the alleged acts to which [p 10] the arrest warrant relates were committed outside Belgian territory, that Mr. Yerodia was not a Belgian national at the time of those acts, and that Mr. Yerodia was not in Belgian territory at the time that the arrest warrant was issued and circulated. That no Belgian nationals were victims of the violence that was said to have resulted from Mr. Yerodia's alleged offences was also uncontested.

Article 5, paragraph 3, of the Belgian Law further provides that "immunity attaching to the official capacity of a person shall not prevent the application of the present Law".
16. At the hearings, Belgium further claimed that it offered "to entrust the case to the competent authorities [of the Congo] for enquiry and possible prosecution", and referred to a certain number of steps which it claimed to have taken in this regard from September 2000, that is, before the filing of the Application instituting proceedings. The Congo for its part stated the following: "We have scant information concerning the form [of these Belgian proposals]." It added that "these proposals . . . appear to have been made very belatedly, namely after an arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia had been issued."

17. On 17 October 2000, the Congo filed in the Registry an Application instituting the present proceedings (see paragraph 1 above), in which the Court was requested "to declare that the Kingdom of Belgium shall annul the international arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000". The Congo relied in its Application on two separate legal grounds. First, it claimed that "the universal jurisdiction that the Belgian State attributes to itself under Article 7 of the Law in question" constituted a

"violation of the principle that a State may not exercise its authority on the territory of another State and of the principle of sovereign equality among all Members of the United Nations, as laid down in Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Charter of the United Nations".

Secondly, it claimed that "the non-recognition, on the basis of Article 5 . . . of the Belgian Law, of the immunity of a Minister for Foreign Affairs in office" constituted a "violation of the diplomatic immunity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a sovereign State, as recognized by the jurisprudence of the Court and following from Article 41, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on Diplomatic Relations".

18. On the same day that it filed its Application instituting proceedings, the Congo submitted a request to the Court for the indication of a provisional measure under Article 41 of the Statute of the Court. During the hearings devoted to consideration of that request, the Court was informed that in November 2000 a ministerial reshuffle had taken place in the Congo, following which Mr. Yerodia had ceased to hold office as Minister for Foreign Affairs and had been entrusted with the portfolio of Minister of Education. Belgium accordingly claimed that the Congo's Application had become moot and asked the Court, as has already been [p 11] recalled, to remove the case from the List. By Order of 8 December 2000, the Court rejected both Belgium's submissions to that effect and also the Congo's request for the indication of provisional measures (see paragraph 4 above).

19. From mid-April 2001, with the formation of a new Government in the Congo, Mr. Yerodia ceased to hold the post of Minister of Education. He no longer holds any ministerial office today.

20. On 12 September 2001, the Belgian National Central Bureau of Interpol requested the Interpol General Secretariat to issue a Red Notice in respect of Mr. Yerodia. Such notices concern individuals whose arrest is requested with a view to extradition. On 19 October 2001, at the public sittings held to hear the oral arguments of the Parties in the case, Belgium informed the Court that Interpol had responded on 27 September 2001 with a request for additional information, and that no Red Notice had yet been circulated.
21. Although the Application of the Congo originally advanced two separate legal grounds (see paragraph 17 above), the submissions of the Congo in its Memorial and the final submissions which it presented at the end of the oral proceedings refer only to a violation "in regard to the . . . Congo of the rule of customary international law concerning the absolute inviolability and immunity from criminal process of incumbent foreign ministers" (see paragraphs 11 and 12 above).

***

22. In their written pleadings, and in oral argument, the Parties addressed issues of jurisdiction and admissibility as well as the merits (see paragraphs 5 and 6 above). In this connection, Belgium raised certain objections which the Court will begin by addressing.

**

23. The first objection presented by Belgium reads as follows:

"That, in the light of the fact that Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi is no longer either Minister for Foreign Affairs of the [Congo] or a minister occupying any other position in the . . . Government [of the Congo], there is no longer a 'legal dispute' between the Parties within the meaning of this term in the Optional Clause Declarations of the Parties and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction in this case."

24. Belgium does not deny that such a legal dispute existed between the Parties at the time when the Congo filed its Application instituting proceedings, and that the Court was properly seised by that Application. However, it contends that the question is not whether a legal dispute [p 12] existed at that time, but whether a legal dispute exists at the present time. Belgium refers in this respect inter alia to the Northern Cameroons case, in which the Court found that it "may pronounce judgment only in connection with concrete cases where there exists at the time of the adjudication an actual controversy involving a conflict of legal interests between the parties" (I.C.J. Reports 1963, pp. 33-34), as well as to the Nuclear Tests cases (Australia v. France) and (New Zealand v. France), in which the Court stated the following: "The Court, as a court of law, is called upon to resolve existing disputes between States . . . The dispute brought before it must therefore continue to exist at the time when the Court makes its decision" (I.C.J. Reports 1974, pp. 270-271, para. 55; p. 476, para. 58). Belgium argues that the position of Mr. Yerodia as Minister for Foreign Affairs was central to the Congo's Application instituting proceedings, and emphasizes that there has now been a change of circumstances at the very heart of the case, in view of the fact that Mr. Yerodia was relieved of his position as Minister for Foreign Affairs in November 2000 and that, since 15 April 2001, he has occupied no position in the Government of the Congo (see paragraphs 18 and 19 above). According to Belgium, while there may still be a difference of opinion between the Parties on the scope and content of international law governing the immunities of a Minister for Foreign Affairs, that difference of opinion has now become a matter of abstract, rather than of practical, concern. The result, in Belgium's view, is that the case has become an attempt by the Congo to "[seek] an advisory opinion from the Court", and no longer a "concrete case" involving an "actual controversy" between the Parties, and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction in the case.
25. The Congo rejects this objection of Belgium. It contends that there is indeed a legal dispute between the Parties, in that the Congo claims that the arrest warrant was issued in violation of the immunity of its Minister for Foreign Affairs, that that warrant was unlawful ab initio, and that this legal defect persists despite the subsequent changes in the position occupied by the individual concerned, while Belgium maintains that the issue and circulation of the arrest warrant were not contrary to international law. The Congo adds that the termination of Mr. Yerodia's official duties in no way operated to efface the wrongful act and the injury that flowed from it, for which the Congo continues to seek redress.

*

26. The Court recalls that, according to its settled jurisprudence, its jurisdiction must be determined at the time that the act instituting proceedings was filed. Thus, if the Court has jurisdiction on the date the case is referred to it, it continues to do so regardless of subsequent events. Such events might lead to a finding that an application has subsequently [p 13] become moot and to a decision not to proceed to judgment on the merits, but they cannot deprive the Court of jurisdiction (see Nottebohm, Preliminary Objection, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1953, p. 122; Right of Passage over Indian Territory, Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1957, p. 142; Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, pp. 23-24, para. 38; and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 129, para. 37).

27. Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Court provides:

"The States parties to the present Statute may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other State accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes concerning:

(a) the interpretation of a treaty;

(b) any question of international law;

(c) the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation;

(d) the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation."

On 17 October 2000, the date that the Congo's Application instituting these proceedings was filed, each of the Parties was bound by a declaration of acceptance of compulsory jurisdiction, filed in accordance with the above provision: Belgium by a declaration of 17 June 1958 and the Congo by a declaration of 8 February 1989. Those declarations contained no reservation applicable to the present case.

Moreover, it is not contested by the Parties that at the material time there was a legal dispute between them concerning the international lawfulness of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and the consequences to be drawn if the warrant was unlawful. Such a dispute was clearly a legal dispute within the meaning of the Court's jurisprudence, namely "a disagreement on a point of law or fact, a conflict of legal views or of interests between two persons" in which "the claim of one party is positively opposed by the other" (Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 17, para. 22; and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, pp. 122-123, para. 21).

28. The Court accordingly concludes that at the time that it was seised [p 14] of the case it had jurisdiction to deal with it, and that it still has such jurisdiction. Belgium's first objection must therefore be rejected.

**

29. The second objection presented by Belgium is the following:

"That in the light of the fact that Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi is no longer either Minister for Foreign Affairs of the [Congo] or a minister occupying any other position in the. . . Government [of the Congo], the case is now without object and the Court should accordingly decline to proceed to judgment on the merits of the case."

30. Belgium also relies in support of this objection on the Northern Cameroons case, in which the Court considered that it would not be a proper discharge of its duties to proceed further in a case in which any judgment that the Court might pronounce would be "without object" (I.C.J. Reports 1963, p. 38), and on the Nuclear Tests cases, in which the Court saw "no reason to allow the continuance of proceedings which it knows are bound to be fruitless" (I.C.J. Reports 1974, p. 271, para. 58; p. 477, para. 61). Belgium maintains that the declarations requested by the Congo in its first and second submissions would clearly fall within the principles enunciated by the Court in those cases, since a judgment of the Court on the merits in this case could only be directed towards the clarification of the law in this area for the future, or be designed to reinforce the position of one or other Party. It relies in support of this argument on the fact that the Congo does not allege any material injury and is not seeking compensatory damages. It adds that the issue and transmission of the arrest warrant were not predicated on the ministerial status of the person concerned, that he is no longer a minister, and that the case is accordingly now devoid of object.

31. The Congo contests this argument of Belgium, and emphasizes that the aim of the Congo -- to have the disputed arrest warrant annulled and to obtain redress for the moral injury suffered -- remains unachieved at the point in time when the Court is called upon to decide the dispute. According to the Congo, in order for the case to have become devoid of object during the proceedings, the cause of the violation of the right would have had to disappear, and the redress sought would have to have been obtained.

*

32. The Court has already affirmed on a number of occasions that events occurring subsequent to the filing of an application may render the application without object such that the Court is not called upon to give a decision thereon (see Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Mon-[p 15]treal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriyav. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 26, para. 46; and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 131, para. 45).

However, it considers that this is not such a case. The change which has occurred in the situation of Mr. Yerodia has not in fact put an end to the dispute between the Parties and has not deprived the Application of its object. The Congo argues that the arrest warrant issued by the Belgian judicial authorities against Mr. Yerodia was and remains unlawful. It asks the Court to hold that the warrant is unlawful, thus providing redress for the moral injury which the warrant allegedly caused to it. The Congo also continues to seek the cancellation of the warrant. For its part, Belgium contends that it did not act in violation of international law and it disputes the Congo's submissions. In the view of the Court, it follows from the foregoing that the Application of the Congo is not now without object and that accordingly the case is not moot. Belgium's second objection must accordingly be rejected.

**

33.The third Belgian objection is put as follows:

"That the case as it now stands is materially different to that set out in the [Congo] 's Application instituting proceedings and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction in the case and/or that the application is inadmissible."

34. According to Belgium, it would be contrary to legal security and the sound administration of justice for an applicant State to continue proceedings in circumstances in which the factual dimension on which the Application was based has changed fundamentally, since the respondent State would in those circumstances be uncertain, until the very last moment, of the substance of the claims against it. Belgium argues that the prejudice suffered by the respondent State in this situation is analogous to the situation in which an applicant State formulates new claims during the course of the proceedings. It refers to the jurisprudence of the Court holding inadmissible new claims formulated during the course of the proceedings which, had they been entertained, would have transformed the subject of the dispute originally brought before it under the terms of the Application (see Fisheries Jurisdiction (Spain v. Canada), Jurisdiction of the Court, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, pp. 447-448, para. 29). In the circumstances, Belgium contends that, if the Congo wishes to maintain its claims, it should be required to initiate proceedings afresh or, at the very least, apply to the Court for permission to amend its initial Application.[p 16]

35. In response, the Congo denies that there has been a substantial amendment of the terms of its Application, and insists that it has presented no new claim, whether of substance or of form, that would have transformed the subject-matter of the dispute. The Congo maintains that it has done nothing through the various stages in the proceedings but "condense and refine" its claims, as do most States that appear before the Court, and that it is simply making use of the right of parties to amend their submissions until the end of the oral proceedings.

*

36. The Court notes that, in accordance with settled jurisprudence, it "cannot, in principle, allow a dispute brought before it by application to be transformed by amendments in the submissions into another dispute which is different in character" (Societe Commerciale de Belgique, Judgment, 1939, P.C.I.J., Series A/B, No. 78, p. 173; cf. Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1984, p. 427, para. 80; see also Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1992, pp. 264-267, in particular paras. 69 and 70). However, the Court considers that in the present case the facts underlying the Application have not changed in a way that produced such a transformation in the dispute brought before it. The question submitted to the Court for decision remains whether the issue and circulation of the arrest warrant by the Belgian judicial authorities against a person who was at that time the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo were contrary to international law. The Congo's final submissions arise "directly out of the question which is the subject-matter of that Application" (Fisheries Jurisdiction (Federal Republic of Germany v. Iceland), Merits, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1974, p. 203, para. 72; see also Temple of Preah Vihear, Merits, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1962, p. 36).

In these circumstances, the Court considers that Belgium cannot validly maintain that the dispute brought before the Court was transformed in a way that affected its ability to prepare its defence, or that the requirements of the sound administration of justice were infringed. Belgium's third objection must accordingly be rejected.

**

37. The fourth Belgian objection reads as follows:

"That, in the light of the new circumstances concerning Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi, the case has assumed the character of an action of diplomatic protection but one in which the individual being pro-[p 17]tected has failed to exhaust local remedies, and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction in the case and/or that the application is inadmissible."

38. In this respect, Belgium accepts that, when the case was first instituted, the Congo had a direct legal interest in the matter, and was asserting a claim in its own name in respect of the alleged violation by Belgium of the immunity of the Congo's Foreign Minister. However, according to Belgium, the case was radically transformed after the Application was filed, namely on 15 April 2001, when Mr. Yerodia ceased to be a member of the Congolese Government. Belgium maintains that two of the requests made of the Court in the Congo's final submissions in practice now concern the legal effect of an arrest warrant issued against a private citizen of the Congo, and that these issues fall within the realm of an action of diplomatic protection. It adds that the individual concerned has not exhausted all available remedies under Belgian law, a necessary condition before the Congo can espouse the cause of one of its nationals in international proceedings.

39. The Congo, on the other hand, denies that this is an action for diplomatic protection. It maintains that it is bringing these proceedings in the name of the Congolese State, on account of the violation of the immunity of its Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Congo further denies the availability of remedies under Belgian law. It points out in this regard that it is only when the Crown Prosecutor has become seised of the case file and makes submissions to the Chambre du conseil that the accused can defend himself before the Chambre and seek to have the charge dismissed.

*

40. The Court notes that the Congo has never sought to invoke before it Mr. Yerodia's personal rights. It considers that, despite the change in professional situation of Mr. Yerodia, the character of the dispute submitted to the Court by means of the Application has not changed: the dispute still concerns the lawfulness of the arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000 against a person who was at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo, and the question whether the rights of the Congo have or have not been violated by that warrant. As the Congo is not acting in the context of protection of one of its nationals, Belgium cannot rely upon the rules relating to the exhaustion of local remedies.

In any event, the Court recalls that an objection based on non-exhaustion of local remedies relates to the admissibility of the application (see Interhandel, Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1959, p. 26; Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1989, p. 42, para. 49). Under settled jurisprudence, the critical date for determining the admissibility of an application is the date on which it is filed [p 18] (see Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, pp. 25-26, paras. 43-44; and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, pp. 130-131, paras. 42-43). Belgium accepts that, on the date on which the Congo filed the Application instituting proceedings, the Congo had a direct legal interest in the matter, and was asserting a claim in its own name. Belgium's fourth objection must accordingly be rejected.

**
41. As a subsidiary argument, Belgium further contends that "in the event that the Court decides that it does have jurisdiction in this case and that the application is admissible, . . . the non ultra petita rule operates to limit the jurisdiction of the Court to those issues that are the subject of the [Congo] 's final submissions". Belgium points out that, while the Congo initially advanced a twofold argument, based, on the one hand, on the Belgian judge's lack of jurisdiction, and, on the other, on the immunity from jurisdiction enjoyed by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Congo no longer claims in its final submissions that Belgium wrongly conferred upon itself universal jurisdiction in absentia. According to Belgium, the Congo now confines itself to arguing that the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 was unlawful because it violated the immunity from jurisdiction of its Minister for Foreign Affairs, and that the Court consequently cannot rule on the issue of universal jurisdiction in any decision it renders on the merits of the case.

42. The Congo, for its part, states that its interest in bringing these proceedings is to obtain a finding by the Court that it has been the victim of an internationally wrongful act, the question whether this case involves the "exercise of an excessive universal jurisdiction" being in this connection only a secondary consideration. The Congo asserts that any consideration by the Court of the issues of international law raised by universal jurisdiction would be undertaken not at the request of the Congo but, rather, by virtue of the defence strategy adopted by Belgium, which appears to maintain that the exercise of such jurisdiction can "represent a valid counterweight to the observance of immunities".

*

43. The Court would recall the well-established principle that "it is the duty of the Court not only to reply to the questions as stated in the final submissions of the parties, but also to abstain from deciding points not included in those submissions" (Asylum, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1950, [p 19] p. 402). While the Court is thus not entitled to decide upon questions not asked of it, the non ultra petita rule nonetheless cannot preclude the Court from addressing certain legal points in its reasoning. Thus in the present case the Court may not rule, in the operative part of its Judgment, on the question whether the disputed arrest warrant, issued by the Belgian investigating judge in exercise of his purported universal jurisdiction, complied in that regard with the rules and principles of international law governing the jurisdiction of national courts. This does not mean, however, that the Court may not deal with certain aspects of that question in the reasoning of its Judgment, should it deem this necessary or desirable.

**

44. The Court concludes from the foregoing that it has jurisdiction to entertain the Congo's Application, that the Application is not without object and that accordingly the case is not moot, and that the Application is admissible. Thus, the Court now turns to the merits of the case.

***
45. As indicated above (see paragraphs 41 to 43 above), in its Application instituting these proceedings, the Congo originally challenged the legality of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 on two separate grounds: on the one hand, Belgium's claim to exercise a universal jurisdiction and, on the other, the alleged violation of the immunities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo then in office. However, in its submissions in its Memorial, and in its final submissions at the close of the oral proceedings, the Congo invokes only the latter ground.
46. As a matter of logic, the second ground should be addressed only once there has been a determination in respect of the first, since it is only where a State has jurisdiction under international law in relation to a particular matter that there can be any question of immunities in regard to the exercise of that jurisdiction. However, in the present case, and in view of the final form of the Congo's submissions, the Court will address first the question whether, assuming that it had jurisdiction under international law to issue and circulate the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000, Belgium in so doing violated the immunities of the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo.

**

47. The Congo maintains that, during his or her term of office, a Minister for Foreign Affairs of a sovereign State is entitled to inviolability [p 20] and to immunity from criminal process being "absolute or complete", that is to say, they are subject to no exception. Accordingly, the Congo contends that no criminal prosecution may be brought against a Minister for Foreign Affairs in a foreign court as long as he or she remains in office, and that any finding of criminal responsibility by a domestic court in a foreign country, or any act of investigation undertaken with a view to bringing him or her to court, would contravene the principle of immunity from jurisdiction. According to the Congo, the basis of such criminal immunity is purely functional, and immunity is accorded under customary international law simply in order to enable the foreign State representative enjoying such immunity to perform his or her functions freely and without let or hindrance. The Congo adds that the immunity thus accorded to Ministers for Foreign Affairs when in office covers all their acts, including any committed before they took office, and that it is irrelevant whether the acts done whilst in office may be characterized or not as "official acts".

48. The Congo states further that it does not deny the existence of a principle of international criminal law, deriving from the decisions of the Nuremberg and Tokyo international military tribunals, that the accused's official capacity at the time of the acts cannot, before any court, whether domestic or international, constitute a "ground of exemption from his criminal responsibility or a ground for mitigation of sentence". The Congo then stresses that the fact that an immunity might bar prosecution before a specific court or over a specific period does not mean that the same prosecution cannot be brought, if appropriate, before another court which is not bound by that immunity, or at another time when the immunity need no longer be taken into account. It concludes that immunity does not mean impunity.

49. Belgium maintains for its part that, while Ministers for Foreign Affairs in office generally enjoy an immunity from jurisdiction before the courts of a foreign State, such immunity applies only to acts carried out in the course of their official functions, and cannot protect such persons in respect of private acts or when they are acting otherwise than in the performance of their official functions.

50. Belgium further states that, in the circumstances of the present case, Mr. Yerodia enjoyed no immunity at the time when he is alleged to have committed the acts of which he is accused, and that there is no evidence that he was then acting in any official capacity. It observes that the arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Yerodia personally.
*

51. The Court would observe at the outset that in international law it is firmly established that, as also diplomatic and consular agents, certain [p 21] holders of high-ranking office in a State, such as the Head of State, Head of Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs, enjoy immunities from jurisdiction in other States, both civil and criminal. For the purposes of the present case, it is only the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability of an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs that fall for the Court to consider.

52. A certain number of treaty instruments were cited by the Parties in this regard. These included, first, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961, which states in its preamble that the purpose of diplomatic privileges and immunities is "to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing States". It provides in Article 32 that only the sending State may waive such immunity. On these points, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which both the Congo and Belgium are parties, reflects customary international law. The same applies to the corresponding provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963, to which the Congo and Belgium are also parties.

The Congo and Belgium further cite the New York Convention on Special Missions of 8 December 1969, to which they are not, however, parties. They recall that under Article 21, paragraph 2, of that Convention:

"The Head of the Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other persons of high rank, when they take part in a special mission of the sending State, shall enjoy in the receiving State or in a third State, in addition to what is granted by the present Convention, the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded by international law."


These conventions provide useful guidance on certain aspects of the question of immunities. They do not, however, contain any provision specifically defining the immunities enjoyed by Ministers for Foreign Affairs. It is consequently on the basis of customary international law that the Court must decide the questions relating to the immunities of such Ministers raised in the present case.

53. In customary international law, the immunities accorded to Ministers for Foreign Affairs are not granted for their personal benefit, but to ensure the effective performance of their functions on behalf of their respective States. In order to determine the extent of these immunities, the Court must therefore first consider the nature of the functions exercised by a Minister for Foreign Affairs. He or she is in charge of his or her Government's diplomatic activities and generally acts as its representative in international negotiations and intergovernmental meetings. Ambassadors and other diplomatic agents carry out their duties under his or her authority. His or her acts may bind the State represented, and there is a presumption that a Minister for Foreign Affairs, simply by virtue of that office, has full powers to act on behalf of the State (see, [p 22] e.g., Art. 7, para. 2 (a), of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties). In the performance of these functions, he or she is frequently required to travel internationally, and thus must be in a position freely to do so whenever the need should arise. He or she must also be in constant communication with the Government, and with its diplomatic missions around the world, and be capable at any time of communicating with representatives of other States. The Court further observes that a Minister for Foreign Affairs, responsible for the conduct of his or her State's relations with all other States, occupies a position such that, like the Head of State or the Head of Government, he or she is recognized under international law as representative of the State solely by virtue of his or her office. He or she does not have to present letters of credence: to the contrary, it is generally the Minister who determines the authority to be conferred upon diplomatic agents and countersigns their letters of credence. Finally, it is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs that charges d'affaires are accredited.

54. The Court accordingly concludes that the functions of a Minister for Foreign Affairs are such that, throughout the duration of his or her office, he or she when abroad enjoys full immunity from criminal jurisdiction and inviolability. That immunity and that inviolability protect the individual concerned against any act of authority of another State which would hinder him or her in the performance of his or her duties.

55. In this respect, no distinction can be drawn between acts performed by a Minister for Foreign Affairs in an "official" capacity, and those claimed to have been performed in a "private capacity", or, for that matter, between acts performed before the person concerned assumed office as Minister for Foreign Affairs and acts committed during the period of office. Thus, if a Minister for Foreign Affairs is arrested in another State on a criminal charge, he or she is clearly thereby prevented from exercising the functions of his or her office. The consequences of such impediment to the exercise of those official functions are equally serious, regardless of whether the Minister for Foreign Affairs was, at the time of arrest, present in the territory of the arresting State on an "official" visit or a "private" visit, regardless of whether the arrest relates to acts allegedly performed before the person became the Minister for Foreign Affairs or to acts performed while in office, and regardless of whether the arrest relates to alleged acts performed in an "official" capacity or a "private" capacity. Furthermore, even the mere risk that, by travelling to or transiting another State a Minister for Foreign Affairs might be exposing himself or herself to legal proceedings could deter the Minister from travelling internationally when required to do so for the purposes of the performance of his or her official functions.

**

56. The Court will now address Belgium's argument that immunities accorded to incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs can in no case protect them where they are suspected of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. In support of this position, Belgium refers in its Counter-Memorial to various legal instruments creating international criminal tribunals, to examples from national legislation, and to the jurisprudence of national and international courts.

Belgium begins by pointing out that certain provisions of the instruments creating international criminal tribunals state expressly that the official capacity of a person shall not be a bar to the exercise by such tribunals of their jurisdiction.

Belgium also places emphasis on certain decisions of national courts, and in particular on the judgments rendered on 24 March 1999 by the House of Lords in the United Kingdom and on 13 March 2001 by the Court of Cassation in France in the Pinochet and Qaddafi cases respectively, in which it contends that an exception to the immunity rule was accepted in the case of serious crimes under international law. Thus, according to Belgium, the Pinochet decision recognizes an exception to the immunity rule when Lord Millett stated that "international law cannot be supposed to have established a crime having the character of a jus cogens and at the same time to have provided an immunity which is co-extensive with the obligation it seeks to impose", or when Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers said that "no established rule of international law requires state immunity rationae materiae to be accorded in respect of prosecution for an international crime". As to the French Court of Cassation, Belgium contends that, in holding that, "under international law as it currently stands, the crime alleged [acts of terrorism], irrespective of its gravity, does not come within the exceptions to the principle of immunity from jurisdiction for incumbent foreign Heads of State", the Court explicitly recognized the existence of such exceptions.

57. The Congo, for its part, states that, under international law as it currently stands, there is no basis for asserting that there is any exception to the principle of absolute immunity from criminal process of an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs where he or she is accused of having committed crimes under international law.

In support of this contention, the Congo refers to State practice, giving particular consideration in this regard to the Pinochet and Qaddafi cases, and concluding that such practice does not correspond to that which Belgium claims but, on the contrary, confirms the absolute nature of the immunity from criminal process of Heads of State and Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Thus, in the Pinochet case, the Congo cites Lord Browne-Wilkinson's statement that "this immunity enjoyed by a head of state in power and an ambassador in post is a complete immunity attached to the person of the head of state or ambassador and rendering him immune from all actions or prosecutions . . . " . According to the Congo, the [p 24] French Court of Cassation adopted the same position in its Qaddafi judgment, in affirming that "international custom bars the prosecution of incumbent Heads of State, in the absence of any contrary international provision binding on the parties concerned, before the criminal courts of a foreign State".

As regards the instruments creating international criminal tribunals and the latter's jurisprudence, these, in the Congo's view, concern only those tribunals, and no inference can be drawn from them in regard to criminal proceedings before national courts against persons enjoying immunity under international law.

*

58. The Court has carefully examined State practice, including national legislation and those few decisions of national higher courts, such as the House of Lords or the French Court of Cassation. It has been unable to deduce from this practice that there exists under customary international law any form of exception to the rule according immunity from criminal jurisdiction and inviolability to incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs, where they are suspected of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.
The Court has also examined the rules concerning the immunity or criminal responsibility of persons having an official capacity contained in the legal instruments creating international criminal tribunals, and which are specifically applicable to the latter (see Charter of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg, Art. 7; Charter of the International Military Tribunal of Tokyo, Art. 6; Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Art. 7, para. 2; Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Art. 6, para. 2; Statute of the International Criminal Court, Art. 27). It finds that these rules likewise do not enable it to conclude that any such an exception exists in customary international law in regard to national courts.

Finally, none of the decisions of the Nuremberg and Tokyo international military tribunals, or of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, cited by Belgium deal with the question of the immunities of incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs before national courts where they are accused of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The Court accordingly notes that those decisions are in no way at variance with the findings it has reached above.

In view of the foregoing, the Court accordingly cannot accept Belgium's argument in this regard.

59. It should further be noted that the rules governing the jurisdiction of national courts must be carefully distinguished from those governing jurisdictional immunities: jurisdiction does not imply absence of immunity, while absence of immunity does not imply jurisdiction. Thus, [p 25]although various international conventions on the prevention and punishment of certain serious crimes impose on States obligations of prosecution or extradition, thereby requiring them to extend their criminal jurisdiction, such extension of jurisdiction in no way affects immunities under customary international law, including those of Ministers for Foreign Affairs. These remain opposable before the courts of a foreign State, even where those courts exercise such a jurisdiction under these conventions.

60. The Court emphasizes, however, that the immunity from jurisdiction enjoyed by incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs does not mean that they enjoy impunity in respect of any crimes they might have committed, irrespective of their gravity. Immunity from criminal jurisdiction and individual criminal responsibility are quite separate concepts. While jurisdictional immunity is procedural in nature, criminal responsibility is a question of substantive law. Jurisdictional immunity may well bar prosecution for a certain period or for certain offences; it cannot exonerate the person to whom it applies from all criminal responsibility.

61. Accordingly, the immunities enjoyed under international law by an incumbent or former Minister for Foreign Affairs do not represent a bar to criminal prosecution in certain circumstances.

First, such persons enjoy no criminal immunity under international law in their own countries, and may thus be tried by those countries' courts in accordance with the relevant rules of domestic law.

Secondly, they will cease to enjoy immunity from foreign jurisdiction if the State which they represent or have represented decides to waive that immunity.

Thirdly, after a person ceases to hold the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs, he or she will no longer enjoy all of the immunities accorded by international law in other States. Provided that it has jurisdiction under international law, a court of one State may try a former Minister for Foreign Affairs of another State in respect of acts committed prior or subsequent to his or her period of office, as well as in respect of acts committed during that period of office in a private capacity.

Fourthly, an incumbent or former Minister for Foreign Affairs may be subject to criminal proceedings before certain international criminal courts, where they have jurisdiction. Examples include the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established pursuant to Security Council resolutions under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, and the future International Criminal Court created by the 1998 Rome Convention. The latter's Statute expressly provides, in Article 27, paragraph 2, that "immunities or special procedural rules which may attach to the [p 26] official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person".

***

62. Given the conclusions it has reached above concerning the nature and scope of the rules governing the immunity from criminal jurisdiction enjoyed by incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs, the Court must now consider whether in the present case the issue of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and its international circulation violated those rules. The Court recalls in this regard that the Congo requests it, in its first final submission, to adjudge and declare that:

"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."

63. In support of this submission, the Congo maintains that the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 as such represents a "coercive legal act" which violates the Congo's immunity and sovereign rights, inasmuch as it seeks to "subject to an organ of domestic criminal jurisdiction a member of a foreign government who is in principle beyond its reach" and is fully enforceable without special formality in Belgium.

The Congo considers that the mere issuance of the warrant thus constituted a coercive measure taken against the person of Mr. Yerodia, even if it was not executed.

64. As regards the international circulation of the said arrest warrant, this, in the Congo's view, not only involved further violations of the rules referred to above, but also aggravated the moral injury which it suffered as a result of the opprobrium "thus cast upon one of the most prominent members of its Government". The Congo further argues that such circulation was a fundamental infringement of its sovereign rights in that it significantly restricted the full and free exercise, by its Minister for Foreign Affairs, of the international negotiation and representation functions entrusted to him by the Congo's former President. In the Congo's view, Belgium "[thus] manifests an intention to have the individual concerned arrested at the place where he is to be found, with a view to procuring his extradition". The Congo emphasizes moreover that it is necessary to avoid any confusion between the arguments concerning the legal effect of the arrest warrant abroad and the question of any responsibility of the foreign authorities giving effect to it. It points out in this regard that no State has acted on the arrest warrant, and that accordingly
[p 27] "no further consideration need be given to the specific responsibility which a State executing it might incur, or to the way in which that responsibility should be related" to that of the Belgian State. The Congo observes that, in such circumstances, "there [would be] a direct causal relationship between the arrest warrant issued in Belgium and any act of enforcement carried out elsewhere".

65. Belgium rejects the Congo's argument on the ground that "the character of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 is such that it has neither infringed the sovereignty of, nor created any obligation for, the [Congo]".

With regard to the legal effects under Belgian law of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000, Belgium contends that the clear purpose of the warrant was to procure that, if found in Belgium, Mr. Yerodia would be detained by the relevant Belgian authorities with a view to his prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to Belgium, the Belgian investigating judge did, however, draw an explicit distinction in the warrant between, on the one hand, immunity from jurisdiction and, on the other hand, immunity from enforcement as regards representatives of foreign States who visit Belgium on the basis of an official invitation, making it clear that such persons would be immune from enforcement of an arrest warrant in Belgium. Belgium further contends that, in its effect, the disputed arrest warrant is national in character, since it requires the arrest of Mr. Yerodia if he is found in Belgium but it does not have this effect outside Belgium.

66. In respect of the legal effects of the arrest warrant outside Belgium, Belgium maintains that the warrant does not create any obligation for the authorities of any other State to arrest Mr. Yerodia in the absence of some further step by Belgium completing or validating the arrest warrant (such as a request for the provisional detention of Mr. Yerodia), or the issuing of an arrest warrant by the appropriate authorities in the State concerned following a request to do so, or the issuing of an Interpol Red Notice. Accordingly, outside Belgium, while the purpose of the warrant was admittedly "to establish a legal basis for the arrest of Mr. Yerodia. . . and his subsequent extradition to Belgium", the warrant had no legal effect unless it was validated or completed by some prior act "requiring the arrest of Mr. Yerodia by the relevant authorities in a third State". Belgium further argues that "if a State had executed the arrest warrant, it might infringe Mr. [Yerodia's] criminal immunity", but that "the Party directly responsible for that infringement would have been that State and not Belgium".

***
67. The Court will first recall that the "international arrest warrant in absentia", issued on 11 April 2000 by an investigating judge of the Brussels Tribunal de premiere instance, is directed against Mr. Yerodia, [p 28] stating that he is "currently Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, having his business address at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kinshasa". The warrant states that Mr. Yerodia is charged with being "the perpetrator or co-perpetrator" of:

" -- Crimes under international law constituting grave breaches causing harm by act or omission to persons and property protected by the Conventions signed at Geneva on 12 August 1949 and by Additional Protocols I and II to those Conventions (Article 1, paragraph 3, of the Law of 16 June 1993, as amended by the Law of 10 February 1999 concerning the punishment of serious violations of international humanitarian law)

-- Crimes against humanity (Article 1, paragraph 2, of the Law of 16 June 1993, as amended by the Law of 10 February 1999 concerning the punishment of serious violations of international humanitarian law)."

The warrant refers to "various speeches inciting racial hatred" and to "particularly virulent remarks" allegedly made by Mr. Yerodia during "public addresses reported by the media" on 4 August and 27 August 1998. It adds:

"These speeches allegedly had the effect of inciting the population to attack Tutsi residents of Kinshasa: there were dragnet searches, manhunts (the Tutsi enemy) and lynchings.

The speeches inciting racial hatred thus are said to have resulted in several hundred deaths, the internment of Tutsis, summary executions, arbitrary arrests and unfair trials."

68. The warrant further states that "the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs currently held by the accused does not entail immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement". The investigating judge does, however, observe in the warrant that "the rule concerning the absence of immunity under humanitarian law would appear . . . to require some qualification in respect of immunity from enforcement" and explains as follows:

"Pursuant to the general principle of fairness in judicial proceedings, immunity from enforcement must, in our view, be accorded to all State representatives welcomed as such onto the territory of Belgium (on 'official visits'). Welcoming such foreign dignitaries as official representatives of sovereign States involves not only relations between individuals but also relations between States. This implies that such welcome includes an undertaking by the host State and its various components to refrain from taking any coercive measures against its guest and the invitation cannot become a pretext for ensnaring the individual concerned in what would then have to be labelled a trap. In the contrary case, failure to respect this [p 29] undertaking could give rise to the host State's international responsibility."

69. The arrest warrant concludes with the following order:


"We instruct and order all bailiffs and agents of public authority who may be so required to execute this arrest warrant and to conduct the accused to the detention centre in Forest;

We order the warden of the prison to receive the accused and to keep him (her) in custody in the detention centre pursuant to this arrest warrant;

We require all those exercising public authority to whom this warrant shall be shown to lend all assistance in executing it."

70. The Court notes that the issuance, as such, of the disputed arrest warrant represents an act by the Belgian judicial authorities intended to enable the arrest on Belgian territory of an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The fact that the warrant is enforceable is clearly apparent from the order given to "all bailiffs and agents of public authority . . . to execute this arrest warrant" (see paragraph 69 above) and from the assertion in the warrant that "the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs currently held by the accused does not entail immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement". The Court notes that the warrant did admittedly make an exception for the case of an official visit by Mr. Yerodia to Belgium, and that Mr. Yerodia never suffered arrest in Belgium. The Court is bound, however, to find that, given the nature and purpose of the warrant, its mere issue violated the immunity which Mr. Yerodia enjoyed as the Congo's incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Court accordingly concludes that the issue of the warrant constituted a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, in that it failed to respect the immunity of that Minister and, more particularly, infringed the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability then enjoyed by him under international law.

71. The Court also notes that Belgium admits that the purpose of the international circulation of the disputed arrest warrant was "to establish a legal basis for the arrest of Mr. Yerodia . . . abroad and his subsequent extradition to Belgium". The Respondent maintains, however, that the enforcement of the warrant in third States was "dependent on some further preliminary steps having been taken" and that, given the "inchoate" quality of the warrant as regards third States, there was no "infringe[ment of] the sovereignty of the [Congo]". It further points out that no Interpol Red Notice was requested until 12 September 2001, when Mr. Yerodia no longer held ministerial office.

The Court cannot subscribe to this view. As in the case of the warrant's issue, its international circulation from June 2000 by the Belgian authorities, given its nature and purpose, effectively infringed Mr. Yero-[p 30]dia's immunity as the Congo's incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs and was furthermore liable to affect the Congo's conduct of its international relations. Since Mr. Yerodia was called upon in that capacity to undertake travel in the performance of his duties, the mere international circulation of the warrant, even in the absence of "further steps" by Belgium, could have resulted, in particular, in his arrest while abroad. The Court observes in this respect that Belgium itself cites information to the effect that Mr. Yerodia, "on applying for a visa to go to two countries, [apparently] learned that he ran the risk of being arrested as a result of the arrest warrant issued against him by Belgium", adding that "this, moreover, is what the [Congo] . . . hints when it writes that the arrest warrant 'sometimes forced Minister Yerodia to travel by roundabout routes'". Accordingly, the Court concludes that the circulation of the warrant, whether or not it significantly interfered with Mr. Yerodia's diplomatic activity, constituted a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, in that it failed to respect the immunity of the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo and, more particularly, infringed the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability then enjoyed by him under international law.

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72. The Court will now address the issue of the remedies sought by the Congo on account of Belgium's violation of the above-mentioned rules of international law. In its second, third and fourth submissions, the Congo requests the Court to adjudge and declare that:

"A formal finding by the Court of the unlawfulness of [the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant] constitutes an appropriate form of satisfaction, providing reparation for the consequent moral injury to the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

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;

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."

73. In support of those submissions, the Congo asserts that the termination of the official duties of Mr. Yerodia in no way operated to efface the wrongful act and the injury flowing from it, which continue to exist. It argues that the warrant is unlawful ab initio, that "it is fundamentally flawed" and that it cannot therefore have any legal effect today. It points [p 31] out that the purpose of its request is reparation for the injury caused, requiring the restoration of the situation which would in all probability have existed if the said act had not been committed. It states that, inasmuch as the wrongful act consisted in an internal legal instrument, only the "withdrawal" and "cancellation" of the latter can provide appropriate reparation.

The Congo further emphasizes that in no way is it asking the Court itself to withdraw or cancel the warrant, nor to determine the means whereby Belgium is to comply with its decision. It explains that the withdrawal and cancellation of the warrant, by the means that Belgium deems most suitable, "are not means of enforcement of the judgment of the Court but the requested measure of legal reparation/restitution itself". The Congo maintains that the Court is consequently only being requested to declare that Belgium, by way of reparation for the injury to the rights of the Congo, be required to withdraw and cancel this warrant by the means of its choice.

74. Belgium for its part maintains that a finding by the Court that the immunity enjoyed by Mr. Yerodia as Minister for Foreign Affairs had been violated would in no way entail an obligation to cancel the arrest warrant. It points out that the arrest warrant is still operative and that "there is no suggestion that it presently infringes the immunity of the Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs". Belgium considers that what the Congo is in reality asking of the Court in its third and fourth final submissions is that the Court should direct Belgium as to the method by which it should give effect to a judgment of the Court finding that the warrant had infringed the immunity of the Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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75. The Court has already concluded (see paragraphs 70 and 71) that the issue and circulation of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 by the Belgian authorities failed to respect the immunity of the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo and, more particularly, infringed the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability then enjoyed by Mr. Yerodia under international law. Those acts engaged Belgium's international responsibility. The Court considers that the findings so reached by it constitute a form of satisfaction which will make good the moral injury complained of by the Congo.

76. However, as the Permanent Court of International Justice stated in its Judgment of 13 September 1928 in the case concerning the Factory at Chorzow:

"the essential principle contained in the actual notion of an illegal act -- a principle which seems to be established by international practice and in particular by the decisions of arbitral tribunals -- is that reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the cones-[p32]quences of the illegal act and reestablish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if that act had not been committed" (P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 17, p. 47).

In the present case, "the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if [the illegal act] had not been committed" cannot be re-established merely by a finding by the Court that the arrest warrant was unlawful under international law. The warrant is still extant, and remains unlawful, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Yerodia has ceased to be Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Court accordingly considers that Belgium must, by means of its own choosing, cancel the warrant in question and so inform the authorities to whom it was circulated.

77. The Court sees no need for any further remedy: in particular, the Court cannot, in a judgment ruling on a dispute between the Congo and Belgium, indicate what that judgment's implications might be for third States, and the Court cannot therefore accept the Congo's submissions on this point.

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78. For these reasons,

THE COURT,

(1)(A) By fifteen votes to one,
Rejects the objections of the Kingdom of Belgium relating to jurisdiction, mootness and admissibility;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal; Judges ad hoc Bula-Bula, Van den Wyngaert;

AGAINST: Judge Oda;

(B) By fifteen votes to one,

Finds that it has jurisdiction to entertain the Application filed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 17 October 2000;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal; Judges ad hoc Bula-Bula, Van den Wyngaert;

AGAINST: Judge Oda;

(C) By fifteen votes to one,

Finds that the Application of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not without object and that accordingly the case is not moot;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, [p 33] Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal; Judges ad hoc Bula-Bula, Van den Wyngaert;

AGAINST: Judge Oda;

(D) By fifteen votes to one,

Finds that the Application of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is admissible;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal; Judges ad hoc Bula-Bula, Van den Wyngaert;

AGAINST: Judge Oda;

(2) By thirteen votes to three,

Finds that the issue against Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000, and its international circulation, constituted violations of a legal obligation of the Kingdom of Belgium towards the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in that they failed to respect the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability which the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo enjoyed under international law;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Buergenthal; Judge ad hoc Bula-Bula;

AGAINST: Judges Oda, Al-Khasawneh; Judge ad hoc Van den Wyngaert;

(3) By ten votes to six,

Finds that the Kingdom of Belgium must, by means of its own choosing, cancel the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and so inform the authorities to whom that warrant was circulated;

IN FAVOUR: President Guillaume; Vice-President Shi; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Parra-Aranguren, Rezek; Judge ad hoc Bula-Bula;

AGAINST: Judges Oda, Higgins, Kooijmans, Al-Khasawneh, Buergenthal; Judge ad hoc Van den Wyngaert.

Done in French and in English, the French text being authoritative, at the Peace Palace, The Hague, this fourteenth day of February, two thousand and two, in three copies, one of which will be placed in the archives of the Court and the others transmitted to the Government of the Demo-[p 34]cratic Republic of the Congo and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, respectively.

(Signed) Gilbert GUILLAUME,
President.

(Signed) Philippe COUVREUR,
Registrar.

President GUILLAUME appends a separate opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge ODA appends a dissenting opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge RANJEVA appends a declaration to the Judgment of the Court; Judge KOROMA appends a separate opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judges HIGGINS, KOOIJMANS and BUERGENTHAL append a joint separate opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge REZEK appends a separate opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge AL-KHASAWNEH appends a dissenting opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge ad hoc BULA-BULA appends a separate opinion to the Judgment of the Court; Judge ad hoc VAN DEN WYNGAERT appends a dissenting opinion to the Judgment of the Court.

(Initialled) G.G.
(Initialled) Ph.C. [p 35]


SEPARATE OPINION OF PRESIDENT GUILLAUME

[English Original Text]

1. I fully subscribe to the Judgment rendered by the Court. I believe it useful however to set out my position on one question which the Judgment has not addressed: whether the Belgian judge had jurisdiction to issue an international arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi on 11 April 2000.

This question was raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Application instituting proceedings. The Congo maintained that the arrest warrant violated not only Mr. Yerodia's immunity as Minister for Foreign Affairs but also "the principle that a Stat; may not exercise its authority on the territory of another State". It accordingly concluded that the universal jurisdiction which the Belgian State had conferred upon itself pursuant to Article 7 of the Law of 16 June 1993, as amended on 10 February 1999, was in breach of international law and that the same was therefore true of the disputed arrest warrant.

The Congo did not elaborate on this line of argument during the oral proceedings and did not include it in its final submissions. Thus, the Court could not rule on this point in the operative part of its Judgment. It could, however, have addressed certain aspects of the question of universal jurisdiction in the reasoning for its decision (see Judgment, para. 43).
That would have been a logical approach; a court's jurisdiction is a question which it must decide before considering the immunity of those before it. In other words, there can only be immunity from jurisdiction where there is jurisdiction. Moreover, this is an important and controversial issue, clarification of which would have been in the interest of all States, including Belgium in particular. I believe it worthwhile to provide such clarification here.

2. The Belgian Law of 16 June 1993, as amended by the Law of 10 February 1999, aims at punishing serious violations of international humanitarian law. It covers certain violations of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and of Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 additional to those Conventions. It also extends to crimes against humanity, which it defines in the terms used in the Rome Convention of 17 July 1998. Article 7 of the Law adds that "[t]he Belgian courts shall have jurisdiction in respect of the offences provided for in the present Law, wheresoever they may have been committed".[p 36]

3. The disputed arrest warrant accuses Mr. Yerodia of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and of crimes against humanity. It states that under Article 7 of the Law of 16 June 1993, as amended, perpetrators of those offences "fall under the jurisdiction of the Belgian courts, regard-less of their nationality or that of the victims". It adds that "the Belgian courts have jurisdiction even if the accused (Belgian or foreign) is not found in Belgium". It states that "[i]n the matter of humanitarian law, the lawmaker's intention was thus to derogate from the principle of the ter-ritorial character of criminal law, in keeping with the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions and of Protocol I". It notes that

"the Convention of 10 December 1984 against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [is] to be viewed in the same way, recognizing the legilimacy of extra-territorial jurisdiction in the area and enshrining the principle of aut dedere aut judicare".

It concludes on these bases that the Belgian courts have jurisdiction.

4. In order to assess the validity of this reasoning, the fundamental principles of international law governing States' exercise of their criminal jurisdiction should first be reviewed.

The primary aim of the criminal law is to enable punishment in each country of offences committed in the national territory. That territory is where evidence of the offence can most often be gathered. That is where the offence generally produces its effects. Finally, that is where the punishment imposed can most naturally serve as an example. Thus, the Permanent Court of International Justice observed as far back as 1927 that "in all systems of law the principle of the territorial character of criminal law is fundamental"FN1.

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FN1"Lotus", Judgment No. 9, 1927. P.C.I. J.. Series A. No. V), p. 20.
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The question has, however, always remained open whether States other than the territorial State have concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute offenders. A wide debate on this subject began as early as the foundation in Europe of the major modern States. Some writers, like Covarruvias and Grotius, pointed out that the presence on the territory of a State of a foreign criminal peacefully enjoying the fruits of his crimes was intolerable. They therefore maintained that it should be possible to prosecute perpetrators of certain particularly serious crimes not only in the State on whose territory the crime was committed but also in the country where they sought refuge. In their view, that country was under an obligation to arrest, followed by extradition or prosecution, in accordance with the maxim aut dedere aut judicareFN2.

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FN2 Covarruvias, Praeticarum quaestionum, Chap. II, No. 7; Grotius, De jure belli uc pads. Book II, Chap. XXI. para. 4; see also Book 1, Chap. V.
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Beginning in the eighteenth century however, this school of thought [p 37] favouring universal punishment was challenged by another body of opinion, one opposed to such punishment and exemplified notably by Montesquieu, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques RousseauFN3. Their views found expression in terms of criminal law in the works of Beccaria, who stated in 1764 that "judges are not the avengers of humankind in general ... A crime is punishable only in the country where it was committed."FN4

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FN3 Montesquieu, L'esprit des lois. Book 26, Chaps. 16 and 21: Voltaire. Dictionnaire philosophique, heading "Crimes et délits de temps et de liou" : Rousseau, Du contrat social. Book II, Chap. 12, and Book III, Chap. 18.
FN4Beccaria, Traité des délits et des peines, para. 21.
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Enlightenment philosophy inspired the lawmakers of the Revolution and nineteenth-century law. Some went so far as to push the underlying logic to its conclusion, and in 1831 Martens could assert that "the lawmaker's power [extends] over all persons and property present in the State" and that "the law does not extend over other States and their subjects"FN5. A century later, Max Huber echoed that assertion when he stated in 1928, in the Award in the Island of Palmas case, that a State has "exclusive competence in regard to its own territory"FN6.

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FN5 G. F. de Martens. Précis du droit des gens modernes de l Europe fondé sur les traités et l'usage, 1831. Vol. I, paras. 85 and 86 (see also para. 100)
FN6United Nations. Reports of International Arbitral Awards ( RIAA). Vol. II, Award of 4 April 1928, p. 838.
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In practice, the principle of territorial sovereignty did not permit of any exception in respect of coercive action, but that was not the case in regard to legislative and judicial jurisdiction. In particular, classic international law does not exclude a State's power in some cases to exercise its judicial jurisdiction over offences committed abroad. But as the Permanent Court stated, once again in the "Lotus" case, the exercise of that jurisdiction is not without its limitsFN7. Under the law as classically formulated, a State normally has jurisdiction over an offence committed abroad only if the offender, or at the very least the victim, has the nationality of that State or if the crime threatens its internal or external security. Ordinarily, States are without jurisdiction over crimes committed abroad as between foreigners.

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FN7"Lotus". Judgment No. 9. 1927, P.C.I.J., Series A. No. '0. p. 19.
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5. Traditionally, customary international law did, however, recognize one case of universal jurisdiction, that of piracy. In more recent times, Article 19 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas of 29 April 1958 and Article 105 of the Montego Bay Convention of 10 December 1982 have provided:

"On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft . . . and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed." [p 38]


Thus, under these conventions, universal jurisdiction is accepted in cases of piracy because piracy is carried out on the high seas, outside all State territory. However, even on the high seas, classic international law is highly restrictive, for it recognizes universal jurisdiction only in cases of piracy and not of other comparable crimes which might also be committed outside the jurisdiction of coastal States, such as trafficking in slavesFN8 or in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substancesFN9.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FN8See the Geneva Slavery Convention of 25 September 1926 and the United Nations Supplementary Convention of 7 September 1956 (French texts in de Martens, Nouveau recueil général des traités, 3rd Series, Vol. XIX, p. 303, and Colliard and Manin, Droit international et histoire diplomatique, Vol. 1, p. 220).
FN9Article 17 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, signed at Vienna on 20 December 1988, deals with illicit traffic on the seas. It reserves the jurisdiction of the flag State (French text in Revue générale de droit international public, 1989/3, p. 720).
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6. The drawbacks of this approach became clear at the beginning of the twentieth century in respect of currency counterfeiting, and the Convention of 20 April 1929, prepared within the League of Nations, marked a certain development in this regard. That Convention enabled States to extend their criminal legislation to counterfeiting crimes involving foreign currency. It added that "[f]oreigners who have committed abroad" any offence referred to in the Convention "and who are in the territory of a country whose internal legislation recognises as a general rule the principle of the prosecution of offences committed abroad, should be punishable in the same way as if the offence had been committed in the territory of that country". But it made that obligation subject to various conditionsFN10.

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FN10 League of Nations, Treaty Series (LNTS), Vol. 112, p. 371.
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A similar approach was taken by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 30 March 1961 FN11 and by the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 21 February 1971FN12, both of which make certain provisions subject to "the constitutional limitations of a Party, its legal system and domestic law". There is no provision governing the jurisdiction of national courts in any of these conventions, or for that matter in the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

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FN11 United Nations, Treaty Series CUNTS), Vol. 520, p. 151.
FN12 UNTS, Vol. 1019, p. 175. UNTS, Vol. 860, p. 105.
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7. A further step was taken in this direction beginning in 1970 in connection with the fight against international terrorism. To that end, States established a novel mechanism: compulsory, albeit subsidiary, universal jurisdiction.

This fundamental innovation was effected by the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft of 16 December 1970FN13. The Convention places an obligation on the State in whose territory the perpetrator of the crime takes refuge to extradite or [p 39] prosecute him. But this would have been insufficient if the Convention had not at the same time placed the States parties under an obligation to establish their jurisdiction for that purpose. Thus, Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention provides:

"Each Contracting State shall . . . take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offence in the case where the alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite him pursuant to [the Convention].'"

This provision marked a turning point, of which the Hague Conference was moreover consciousFN14. From then on, the obligation to prosecute was no longer conditional on the existence of jurisdiction, but rather jurisdiction itself had to be established in order to make prosecution possible.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FN14 The Diplomatic Conference at The Hague supplemented the ICAO Legal Committee draft on this point by providing for a new jurisdiction. That solution was adopted on Spain's proposal by a vote of 34 to 17, with 12 abstentions (see Annuaire français de droit international, 1970, p. 49).
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8. The system as thus adopted was repeated with some minor variations in a large number of conventions: the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation of 23 September 1971; the New York Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, of 14 December 1973; the New York Convention against the Taking of Hostages of 17 December 1979; the Vienna Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials of 3 March 1980; the New York Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984; the Montreal Protocol of 24 February 1988 concerning acts of violence at airports; the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 10 March 1988; the Protocol of the same date concerning the safety of platforms located on the continental shelf ; the Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 20 December 1988; the New York Conven-tion for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings of 15 December 1997; and finally the New York Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 9 December 1999.

9. Thus, a system corresponding to the doctrines espoused long ago by Grotius was set up by treaty. Whenever the perpetrator of any of the offences covered by these conventions is found in ;he territory of a State, that State is under an obligation to arrest him, and then extradite or prosecute. It must have first conferred jurisdiction on its courts to try him if he is not extradited. Thus, universal punishment of the offences in question is assured, as the perpetrators are deniec refuge in all States.

By contrast, none of these texts has contemplated establishing jurisdic-[p 40]tion over offences committed abroad by foreigners against foreigners when the perpetrator is not present in the territory of the State in question. Universal jurisdiction in absentia is unknown to international conventional law.

10. Thus, in the absence of conventional provisions, Belgium, both in its written Memorial and in oral argument, relies essentially on this point on international customary law.

11. In this connection, Belgium cites the development of international criminal courts. But this development was precisely in order to provide a remedy for the deficiencies of national courts, and the rules governing the jurisdiction of international courts as laid down by treaty or by the Security Council of course have no effect upon the jurisdiction of national courts.

12. Hence, Belgium essentially seeks to justify its position by relying on the practice of States and their opinio juris. However, the national legislation and jurisprudence cited in the case fie do not support the Belgian argument, and I will give some topical examples of this.

In France, Article 689-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides:

"Pursuant to the international conventions referred to in the following articlesFN15, any person, if present in France, may be prosecuted and tried by the French courts if that person has committed outside the territory of the Republic one of the offences specified in those articles."

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FN15 Namely the international conventions mentioned in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the present opinion to which France is party.
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Two Laws, of 2 January 1995 and 22 May 1996, concerning certain crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda extended the jurisdiction of the French courts to such crimes where, again, the presumed author of the offence is found in French territoryFN16. Moreover, the French Court of Cassation has interpreted Article 689-1 restrictively, holding that, "in the absence of any direct effect o" the four Geneva Conventions in regard to search and prosecution of the perpetrators of grave breaches, Article 689 of the Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be applied" in relation to the perpetrators of grave breaches of those Conventions found on French territoryFN17.

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FN16 For the application of this latter Law, see Court of Cassation, Criminal Chamber, 6 January 1998, Munyeshyaka.
FN17 Court of Cassation, Criminal Chamber, 26 March 1996. No. 132, Javor.
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In Germany, the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) contains in Section 6, paragraphs 1 and 9, and in Section 7, paragraph 1, provisions permitting the prosecution in certain circumstances of crimes committed abroad. And indeed in a case of genocide (Tadic) the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) recalled that: "German criminal law is applicable pursuant to section 6, paragraph 1, to an act of genocide committed abroad independently of the law of the territorial State (principle of so-called [p 41] universal jurisdiction)". The Court added, however, that "a condition precedent is that international law does not prohibit such action"; it is only, moreover, where there exists in the case in question a "link" legitimizing prosecution in Germany "that it is possible to apply German criminal law to the conduct of a foreigner abroad. In the absence of such a link with the forum State, prosecution would violate the principle of non-interference, under which every State is required to respect the sovereignty of other States."FN18 In that case, the Federal Court held that there was such a link by reason of the fact that the accused had been voluntarily residing for some months in Germany, that he had established his centre of interests there and that he had been arrested on German territory.

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FN18 Bundesgerichtshof, 13 February 1994, 1 BGs 100.94, in Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht, 1994, pp. 232-233. The original German text reads as follows:

"4 a) Nach § 6 Nr. 1 StGB gilt deutsches Strafrecht für ein im Ausland begangenes Verbrechen des Völkermordes (§ 220a StGB), und zwar unabhängig vom Recht des Tatorts (sog. Weltrechtsprinzip). Vorraussetzung ist allerdings — über den Wortlaut der Vorschrift hinaus —, daß ein völkerrechtliches Verbot nicht entgegensteht und außerdem ein legitimierender Anknüpfungspunkt im Eiazelfall einen unmittelbaren Bezug der Strafverfolgung zum Inland herstellt; nur dar n ist die Anwendung innerstaatlicher (deutscher) Strafgewalt auf die Auslandstat eines Ausländers gerechtfertigt. Fehlt ein derartiger Inlandsbezug, so verstößt die Strafverfolgung gegen das sog. Nichteinmischungsprinzip, das die Achtung der Souveänität fremder Staaten gebietet (BGHSt 27, 30 und 34. 334; Oehler JR 1977, 424; Holzhausen NStZ 1992. 268)."

Similarly, Düsseldorf Oberlandesgericht, 26 September 1997. Bundesgerichtshof, 30 April 1999, Jorgic; Düsseldorf Oberlandesgericht, 29 November 1995. Bundesgerichtshof, 21 February 2001, Sokolvic.
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The Netherlands Supreme Court (Hoge Raad) was faced with comparable problems in the Bouterse case. It noted that the Dutch legislation adopted to implement the Hague and Montreal Canventions of 1970 and 1971 only gave the Dutch courts jurisdiction in respect of offences committed abroad if "the accused was found in the Netherlands". It concluded from this that the same applied in the case of the 1984 Convention against Torture, even though no such specific provision had been included in the legislation implementing that Convention. It accordingly held that prosecution in the Netherlands for acts of torture committed abroad was possible only

"if one of the conditions of connection provided for in that Convention for the establishment of jurisdiction was satisfied, for example if the accused or the victim wis Dutch or fell to be regarded as such, or if the accused was on Dutch territory at the time of his arrestFN19"

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FN19 Hoge Raad, 18 September 2001, Bouterse. para. 8.5. The original Dutch text reads as follows:

"indien daartoe een in dat Verdrag genoemd aankopingspunt voor de vestiging van rechtsmacht aanwezig is, bijvoorbeeld omdat de vermc edelijke dader dan wel het slachtoffer Nederlander is of daarmee gelijkgesteld moet worden, of omdat de ver-moedelijke dader zieh ten tijde van zijn aanhouding in Nederland bevindt".
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[p 42]


Numbers of other examples could be given, and the only country whose legislation and jurisprudence appear clearly to go the other way is the State of Israel, which in this field obviously constitutes a very special case.

To conclude, I cannot do better than quote what Lord Slynn of Hadley had to say on this point in the first Pinochet case:

"It does not seem . . . that it has been shown that there is any State practice or general consensus let alone a widely supported convention that all crimes against international law should be justiciable in National Courts on the basis of the universality of jurisdiction . . . That international law crimes should be tried before international tribunals or in the perpetrator's own state is one thing; that they should be impleaded without regard to a long established customary international law rule in the Courts of other spates is another . . . The fact even that an act is recognised as a crime under international law does not mean that the Courts of all States have jurisdiction to try it. . . There is no universality of jurisdiction far crimes against international law . . ."FN20

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FN20 House of Lords, 25 November 1998, R. v. Bartie; ex parte Pinochet.
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In other words, international law knows only one true case of universal jurisdiction: piracy. Further, a number of international conventions provide for the establishment of subsidiary universal jurisdiction for purposes of the trial of certain offenders arrested on national territory and not extradited to a foreign country. Universal jurisdiction in absentia as applied in the present case is unknown to internacional law.

13. Having found that neither treaty law nor international customary law provide a State with the possibility of conferring universal jurisdiction on its courts where the author of the offence is not present on its territory, Belgium contends lastly that, even in the absence of any treaty or custom to this effect, it enjoyed total freedom of action. To this end it cites from the Judgment of the Permanent Court of International Justice in the "Lotus" case:

"Far from laying down a general prohibition to the effect that States may not extend the application of their laws and the jurisdiction of their courts to persons, property and acts outside their territory, [international law] leaves them in this respect a wide measure of discretion which is only limited in certain cases by prohibitive rules . . ."FN21

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FN21 FN21”Lotus". Judgment No. 9. 1927. PC.I.J., Series A, No. 10. p. 19.
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[p 43]

Hence, so Belgium claimed, in the absence of any prohibitive rule it was entitled to confer upon itself a universal jurisdiction in absentia.

14. This argument is hardly persuasive. Indeed the Permanent Court itself, having laid down the general principle cited by Belgium, then asked itself "whether the foregoing considerations really apply as regards criminal jurisdiction”FN22. It held that either this might be the case, or alterna-tively, that: "the exclusively territorial character of law relating to this domain constitutes a principle which, except as otherwise expressly provided, would, ipso facto, prevent States from extending the criminal jurisdiction of their courts beyond their frontiers"FN23. In the particular case before it, the Permanent Court took the view that it was unnecessary to decide the point. Given that the case involved the collision of a French vessel with a Turkish vessel, the Court confined ii self to noting that the effects of the offence in question had made themselves felt on Turkish territory, and that consequently a criminal prosecution might '"be justified from the point of view of this so-called territorial principle”FN24.

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FN22"Lotus", Judgment No. 9, 1927, P.C.I.J, Series A, No. 10, p. 20.
FN23 Ibid.
FN24 Ibid. p. 23.
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15. The absence of a decision by the Permanent Court on the point was understandable in 1927, given the sparse treaty law at that time. The situation is different today, it seems to me — totally different. The adoption of the United Nations Charter proclaiming the sovereign equality of States, and the appearance on the international scene of new States, born of decolonization, have strengthened the territorial principle. International criminal law has itself undergone considerable development and constitutes today an impressive legal corpus. It recognizes in many situations the possibility, or indeed the obligation, for a State other than that on whose territory the offence was committed to confer jurisdiction on its courts to prosecute the authors of certain crimes where they are present on its territory. International criminal courts have been created. But at no time has it been envisaged that jurisdiction should be conferred upon the courts of every State in the world to prosecute such crimes, whoever their authors and victims and irrespective of the place where the offender is to be found. To do this would, moreover, risk creating total judicial chaos. It would also be to encourage the arbitrary for the benefit of the powerful, purportedly acting as agent for an ill-defined "international community". Contrary to what is advocated by certain publicists, such a development would represent not an advance in the law but a step backward.

16. States primarily exercise their criminal jurisdiction on their own territory. In classic international law, they normally have jurisdiction in respect of an offence committed abroad only if the offender, or at least [p 44] the victim, is of their nationality, or if the crime threatens their internal or external security. Additionally, they may exercise jurisdiction in cases of piracy and in the situations of subsidiary universal jurisdiction provided for by various conventions if the offender is present on their territory. But apart from these cases, international law does not accept universal jurisdiction; still less does it accept universal jurisdiction in absentia.

17. Passing now to the specific case before us I would observe that Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi is accused of two types of offence, namely serious war crimes, punishable under the Geneva Conventions, and crimes against humanity.

As regards the first count, I note that, under Article 49 of the First Geneva Convention, Article 50 of the Second Convention, Article 129 of the Third Convention and Article 146 of the Fourth Convention:

"Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, [certain] grave breaches [of the Convention], and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned ..."

This provision requires each contracting party to search out alleged offenders and bring them before its courts (unless it prefers to hand them over to another party). However, the Geneva Conventions do not contain any provision on jurisdiction comparable, for example, to Article 4 of the Hague Convention already cited. What is more, they do not create any obligation of search, arrest o~ prosecution in cases where the offenders are not present on the territory of the State concerned. They accordingly cannot in any event found a universal jurisdiction in absentia. Thus Belgium could not confer such jurisdiction on its courts on the basis of these Conventions, and the proceedings instituted in this case against Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi on account of war crimes were brought by a judge who was not competent to do so in the eyes of international law.
The same applies as regards the proceedings for crimes against humanity. No international convention, apart from the Rome Convention of 17 July 1998, which is not in force, deals with tie prosecution of such crimes. Thus the Belgian judge, no doubt aware of this problem, felt him-self entitled in his warrant to cite the Convention against Torture of 10 December 1984. But it is not permissible in criminal proceedings to reason by analogy, as the Permanent Court of International Justice indeed pointed out in its Advisory Opinion of 4 December 1935 concerning the Consistency of Certain Danzig Legislative Decrees with the Con-[p 45]stitution of the Free CityFN25. There too, proceedings were instituted by a judge not competent in the eyes of international law.

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FN25 Consistency of Certain Danzig Legislative Decrees with he Constitution of the Free City. Advisory Opinion. 1935. P.C.I.J., Series AIB. No. 65. pp. 41 et seq.
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If the Court had addressed these questions, it seems to me that it ought therefore to have found that the Belgian judge was wrong in holding himself competent to prosecute Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi by relying on a universal jurisdiction incompatible with international law.

(Signed) Gilbert GUILLAUME. [p 46]


DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE ODA

Introduction

1. I voted against all provisions of the operative part of the Judgment. My objections are not directed individually at the various provisions since I am unable to support any aspect of the position the Court has taken in dealing with the presentation of this case by the Congo.

It is my firm belief that the Court should have declared ex officio that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the Congo's Application of 17 October 2000 for the reason that there was, at that date, no legal dispute between the Congo and Belgium falling within the purview of Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute, a belief already expressed in my declaration appended to the Court's Order of 8 December 2000 concerning the request for the indication of provisional measures. I reiterate my view that the Court should have dismissed the Application submitted by the Congo on 17 October 2000 for lack of jurisdiction.

My opinion was that the case should have been removed from the General List at the provisional measures stage. In the Order of 8 December 2000, however, I voted in favour of the holding that the case should not be removed from the General List but did so reluctantly "only from a sense of judicial solidarity" (Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures, Order of 8 December 2000, I.C.J. Reports 2000, p. 205, para. 6, declaration of Judge Oda). I now regret that vote.[p 47]

2. It strikes me as unfortunate that the Court, after finding that "it has jurisdiction to entertain the Application" and that "the Application ... is admissible" (Judgment, para. 78 (1) (B) and (D)), quickly comes to certain conclusions concerning "the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability which the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of [the Congo] enjoyed under international law" in connection with "the issue against [Mr. Yerodia] of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000" and "its international circulation" (Judgment, para. 78 (2)).

I. No Legal Dispute in Terms of Article 36, Paragraph 2, of the Statute

3. To begin with, the Congo's Application provides no basis on which to infer that the Congo ever thought that a dispute existed between it and Belgium regarding the arrest warrant issued by a Belgian investigating judge on 11 April 2000 against Mr. Yerodia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo. The word "dispute" appears in the Application only at its very end, under the heading "V. Admissibility of the Present Application", in which the Congo stated that:

"As to the existence of a dispute on that question [namely, the question that the Court is called upon to decide], this is established ab initio by the very fact that it is the non-conformity with international law of the Law of the Belgian State on which the investigating judge founds his warrant which is the subject of the legal grounds which [the Congo] has submitted to the Court." (Emphasis added.)

Without giving any further explanation as to the alleged dispute, the Congo simply asserted that Belgium's 1993 Law, as amended in 1999, concerning the Punishment of Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law contravened international law.

4. The Congo's mere belief that the Belgian law violated international law is not evidence, let alone proof, that a dispute existed between it and Belgium. It shows at most that the Congo held a different legal view, one opposed to the action taken by Belgium. It is clear that the Congo did not think that it was referring a dispute to the Court. The Congo, furthermore, never thought of this as a legal dispute, the existence of which is a requirement for unilateral applications to the Court under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Court's Statute. The Congo's mere opposition to the Belgian Law and certain acts taken by Belgium pursuant to it cannot be regarded as a dispute or a legal dispute between the Congo and Belgium. In fact, there existed no such legal dispute in this case.

I find it strange that the Court does not take up this point in the Judgment; instead the Court simply states in the first paragraph of its decision that "the Congo . . . filed in the Registry of the Court an Application [p 48] instituting proceedings against . . . Belgium ... in respect of a dispute concerning an 'international arrest warrant . . ."' (Judgment, para. 1, emphasis added) and speaks of "a legal dispute between [the Congo and Belgium] concerning the international lawfulness of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and the consequences to be drawn if the arrest warrant was unlawful" (Judgment, para. 27, emphasis added). To repeat, the Congo did refer in its Application to a dispute but only in reference to the admissibility of the case, not "[i]n order to found the Court's jurisdiction", as the Court mistakenly asserts in paragraph 1 of the Judgment.

5. While Article 40 of the Court's Statute does not require from an applicant State a statement of "the legal grounds upon which the jurisdiction of the Court is said to be based", Article 38, paragraph 2, of the Rules of Court does and the Congo failed to specify those grounds in its Application. Furthermore, the Congo did not indicate "the subject of the dispute", which is required under Article 40 of the Statute.

In its Application the Congo refers only to "Legal Grounds" (Section I) and "Statement of the Grounds on which the Claim is Based" (Section IV). In those sections of the Application, the Congo, without referring to the basis of jurisdiction or the subject of dispute, simply mentions "[v]iolation of the principle that a State may not exercise [its authority] on the territory of another State and of the principle of sovereign equality" and "[v]iolation of the diplomatic immunity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a sovereign State".

6. The Congo's claim is, first, that the 1993 Belgian Law, as amended in 1999, is in breach of those two aforementioned principles and, secondly, that Belgium's prosecution of Mr. Yerodia, Foreign Minister of the Congo, violates the diplomatic immunity granted under international law to Ministers for Foreign Affairs. The Congo did not cite any damage or injury which the Congo or Mr. Yerodia himself has suffered or will suffer except for some moral injury; that is, at most, Mr. Yerodia might have thought it wise to forgo travel to foreign countries for fear of being arrested by those States pursuant to the arrest warrant issued by the Belgian investigating judge (that fear being ungrounded). Thus, as already noted, the Congo did not ask the Court to settle a legal dispute with Belgium but rather to render a legal opinion on the lawfulness of the 1993 Belgian Law as amended in 1999 and actions taken under it.

7. I fear that the Court's conclusions finding that this case involves a legal dispute between the Congo and Belgium within the meaning of Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute (such questions being the only ones which can be submitted to the Court) and upholding its jurisdiction in the present case will eventually lead to an excessive number of cases of this nature being referred to the Court even when no real injury has occurred, simply because one State believes that another State has acted contrary to international law. I am also afraid that many States will then [p 49]
withdraw their recognition of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction in order to avoid falling victim to this distortion of the rules governing the submission of cases. (See Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures, Order of 8 December 2000, I. C.J. Reports 2000, p. 204, declaration of Judge Oda.)

This "loose" interpretation of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court will frustrate the expectations of a number of law-abiding nations. I would emphasize that the Court's jurisdiction is, in principle, based on the consent of the sovereign States seeking judicial settlement by the Court.

II. The Congo's Changing of the Subject-Matter

8. In reaffirming my conviction that the Congo's Application unilaterally submitted to the Court was not a proper subject of contentious proceedings before the Court, I would like to take up a few other points which I find to be crucial to understanding the essence of this inappropriate, unjustified and, if I may say so, wrongly decided case. It is to be noted, firstly, that between filing its Application of 17 October 2000 and submitting its Memorial on 15 May 2001, the Congo restated the issues, changing the underlying subject-matter in the process.

The Congo contended in the Application: (i) that the 1993 Belgian Law, as amended in 1999, violated the "principle that a State may not exercise [its authority] on the territory of another State" and the "principle of sovereign equality" and (ii) that Belgium's exercise of criminal jurisdiction over Mr. Yerodia, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo, violated the "diplomatic immunity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of a sovereign State". The alleged violations of those first two principles concern the question of "universal jurisdiction", which remains a matter of controversy within the international legal community, while the last claim relates only to a question of the "diplomatic immunity" enjoyed by the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs.

9. The Congo changed its claim in its Memorial, submitted seven months later, stating that

"by issuing and internationally circulating the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 against [Mr. Yerodia], Belgium committed a violation in regard to the DRC of the rule of customary international law concerning the absolute inviolability and immunity from criminal process of incumbent foreign ministers" (Memorial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 15 May 2001, p. 64). [Translation by the Registry.]

Charging and arresting a suspect are clearly acts falling within the exercise of a State's criminal jurisdiction. The questions originally raised —[p 50] namely, whether a State has extraterritorial jurisdiction over crimes constituting serious violations of humanitarian law wherever committed and by whomever (in other words, the question of universal jurisdiction) and whether a Foreign Minister is exempt from such jurisdiction (in other words, the question of diplomatic immunity) — were transmuted into questions of the "issue and international circulation" of an arrest warrant against a Foreign Minister and the immunities of incumbent Foreign Ministers.

This is clearly a change in subject-matter, one not encompassed in "the right to argue further the grounds of its Application", which the Congo reserved in its Application of 17 October 2000.

10. It remains a mystery to me why Belgium did not raise preliminary objections concerning the Court's jurisdiction at the outset of this case. Instead, it admitted in its Counter-Memorial that there had been a dispute between the two States, one susceptible to judicial settlement by the Court, at the time the proceedings were instituted and that the Court was then seised of the case, as the Court itself finds (Judgment, paras. 27-28). Did Belgium view this as a case involving a unilateral application and the Respondent's subsequent recognition of the Court's jurisdiction, instances of which are to be found in the Court's past?

Belgium seems to have taken the position that once Mr. Yerodia had ceased to be Foreign Minister, a dispute existed concerning him in his capacity as a former Foreign Minister and contended that the Court lacked jurisdiction under those circumstances. Thus, Belgium also appears to have replaced the issues as they existed on the date of the Congo's Application with those arising at a later date. It would appear that Belgium did not challenge the Court's jurisdiction in the original case but rather was concerned only with the admissibility of the Application or the mootness of the case once Mr. Yerodia had been relieved of his duties as Foreign Minister (see Belgium's four preliminary objections raised in its Counter-Memorial, referred to in the Judgment, paras. 23, 29, 33 and 37).

In this respect, I share the view of the Court (reserving, of course, my position that a dispute did not exist) that the alleged dispute was the one existing in October 2000 (Judgment, para. 38) and, although I voted against paragraph 78 (1) (A) of the Judgment for the reasons set out in paragraph 1 of my opinion, I concur with the Court in rejecting Belgium's objections relating to "jurisdiction, mootness and admissibility" in regard to the alleged dispute which Belgium believed existed after Mr. Yerodia left office.

Certainly, the question whether a former Foreign Minister is entitled to the same privileges and immunities as an incumbent Foreign Minister may well be a legal issue but it is not a proper subject of the present case brought by the Congo in October 2000.[p 51]

III. Does the Present Case Involve Any Legal Issues on Which the Congo and Belgium Held Conflicting Views?

11. Putting aside for now my view that that there was no legal dispute between the Congo and Belgium susceptible to judicial settlement by the Court under its Statute and that the Congo seems simply to have asked the Court to render an opinion, I shall note my incomprehension of the Congo's intention and purpose in bringing this request to the Court in October 2000 when Mr. Yerodia held the office of Foreign Minister.

In its Application of October 2000, the Congo raised the question whether the 1993 Belgian Law, as amended in 1999, providing for the punishment of serious violations of humanitarian law was itself contrary to the principle of sovereign equality under international law (see Application of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 17 October 2000, Part III: Statement of the Facts, A). Yet it appears that the Congo abandoned this point in its Memorial of May 2001, as the Court admits (Judgment, para. 45), and never took it up during the oral proceedings.

12. It is one of the fundamental principles of international law that a State cannot exercise its jurisdiction outside its territory. However, the past few decades have seen a gradual widening in the scope of the jurisdiction to prescribe law. From the base established by the Permanent Court's decision in 1927 in the "Lotus" case, the scope of extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction has been expanded over the past few decades to cover the crimes of piracy, hijacking, etc. Universal jurisdiction is increasingly recognized in cases of terrorism and genocide. Belgium is known for taking the lead in this field and its 1993 Law (which would make Mr. Yerodia liable to punishment for any crimes against humanitarian law he committed outside of Belgium) may well be at the forefront of a trend. There is some national case law and some treaty-made law evi-dencing such a trend.

Legal scholars the world over have written prolifically on this issue. Some of the opinions appended to this Judgment also give guidance in this respect. I believe, however, that the Court has shown wisdom in refraining from taking a definitive stance in this respect as the law is not sufficiently developed and, in fact, the Court is not requested in the present case to take a decision on this point.

13. It is clear that a State cannot arrest an individual outside its territory and forcibly bring him before its courts for trial. In this connection, it is necessary to examine the effect of an arrest warrant issued by a State authority against an individual who is subject to that State's jurisdiction to prescribe law.

The arrest warrant is an official document issued by the State's judiciary empowering the police authorities to take forcible action to place [p 52] the individual under arrest. Without more, however, the warrant is not directly binding on foreign authorities, who are not part of the law enforcement mechanism of the issuing State. The individual may be arrested abroad (that is, outside the issuing State) only by the authorities of the State where he or she is present, since jurisdiction over that territory lies exclusively with that State. Those authorities will arrest the individual being sought by the issuing State only if the requested State is committed to do so pursuant to international arrangements with the issuing State. Interpol is merely an organization which transmits the arrest request from one State to another; it has no enforcement powers of its own.

It bears stressing that the issuance of an arrest warrant by one State and the international circulation of the warrant through Interpol have no legal impact unless the arrest request is validated by the receiving State. The Congo appears to have failed to grasp that the mere issuance and international circulation of an arrest warrant have little significance. There is even some doubt whether the Court itself properly understood this, particularly as regards a warrant's legal effect. The crucial point in this regard is not the issuance or international circulation of an arrest warrant but the response of the State receiving it.

14. Diplomatic immunity is the immunity which an individual holding diplomatic status enjoys from the exercise of jurisdiction by States other than his own. The issue whether Mr. Yerodia, as Foreign Minister of the Congo, should have been immune in 2000 from Belgium's exercise of criminal jurisdiction pursuant to the 1993 Law as amended in ¡999 is twofold. The first question is whether in principle a Foreign Minister, the post which Mr. Yerodia held in 2000, is entitled to the same immunity as diplomatic agents. Neither the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations nor any other convention spells out the privileges of Foreign Ministers and the answer may not be clear under customary international law. The Judgment addresses this question merely by giving a hornbook-like explanation in paragraphs 51 to 55. I have no further comment on this.

The more important aspect is the second one: can diplomatic immunity also be claimed in respect of serious breaches of humanitarian law — over which many advocate the existence of universal jurisdiction and which are the subject-matter of Belgium's 1993 Law as amended in 1999 — and, furthermore, is a Foreign Minister entitled to greater immunity in this respect than ordinary diplomatic agents? These issues are too new to admit of any definite answer.

The Court, after quoting several recent incidents in European countries, seems to conclude that Ministers for Foreign Affairs enjoy absolute immunity (Judgment, paras. 56-61). It may reasonably be asked whether [p 53] it was necessary, or advisable, for the Court to commit itself on this issue, which remains a highly hypothetical question as Belgium has not exercised its criminal jurisdiction over Mr. Yerodia pursuant to the 1993 Belgian Law, as amended in 1999, and no third State has yet acted in pursuance of Belgium's assertion of universal jurisdiction.

IV. Concluding Remarks

15. I find little sense in the Court's finding in paragraph (3) of the operative part of the Judgment, which in the Court's logic appears to be the consequence of the finding set out in paragraph (2) (Judgment, para. 78). Given that the Court concludes that the violation of interna-tional law occurred in 2000 and the Court would appear to believe that there is nothing in 2002 to prevent Belgium from issuing a new arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia, this time as a former Foreign Minister and not the incumbent Foreign Minister, there is no practical significance in ordering Belgium to cancel the arrest warrant of April 2000. If the Court believes that this is an issue of the sovereign dignity of the Congo and that that dignity was violated in 2000, thereby causing injury at that time to the Congo, the harm done cannot be remedied by the cancellation of the arrest warrant; the only remedy would be an apology by Belgium. But I do not believe that Belgium caused any injury to the Congo because no action was ever taken against Mr. Yerodia pursuant to the warrant. Furthermore, Belgium was under no obligation to provide the Congo with any assurances that the incumbent Foreign Minister's immunity from criminal jurisdiction would be respected under the 1993 Law, as amended in 1999, but that is not the issue here.

16. In conclusion, I find the present case to be not only unripe for adjudication at this time but also fundamentally inappropriate for the Court's consideration. There is not even agreement between the Congo and Belgium concerning the issues in dispute in the present case. The potentially significant questions (the validity of universal jurisdiction, the general scope of diplomatic immunity) were transmuted into a simple question of the issuance and international circulation of an arrest warrant as they relate to diplomatic immunity. It is indeed unfortunate that the Court chose to treat this matter as a contentious case suitable for judicial resolution.

(Signed) Shigeru Oda. [p 54]


DECLARATION OF JUDGE RANJEVA

[Translation]

1. I fully subscribe to the Judgment's conclusion that the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 constituted violations of an international obligation owed by Belgium to the Congo in that they failed to respect the immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs. I also approve of the Court's position in refraining, in the light of the Congo's submissions as finally stated, from raising and dealing with the is me whether the legality of the warrant was subject to challenge on account of universal jurisdiction as it was exercised by Belgium.

2. Logical considerations should have led the Court to address the question of universal jurisdiction, a topical issue on which a decision in the present case would have necessarily set a precedent. The Congo's withdrawal of its original first submission (see paragraphs 17 and 21 of the Judgment) was not sufficient per se to justify the Court's position. The first claim as originally formulated could reasonably have been deemed a false submission and construed as a ground advanced to serve as the basis for the main relief sought: a declaration that the arrest war-rant was unlawful as constituting a violation of immunities from criminal jurisdiction. As a result of the amendment of the Congo's claim, the question of universal jurisdiction was transformed from a ground of claim into a defence for Belgium. Procedurally, however, the Court must rule on the submissions and the grounds of the claims, and do so regardless of the intrinsic interest presented by questions raised in the course of the proceedings. Given the submissions concerning the unlawfulness of the warrant, it became unnecessary, to my great regret, to address the second aspect of unlawfulness. One thing is certain: there is no basis for concluding from the text of the Judgment that the Court was indifferent to the question of universal jurisdiction. That remains an open legal issue.

3. The silence maintained by the Judgment on the question of universal jurisdiction places me in an awkward position. Expressing an opinion [p 55] on the subject would be an unusual exercise, because it would involve reasoning in the realm of hypothesis, whereas the problem is a real one, not only in the present case but also in the light of developments in international criminal law aimed at preventing and punishing heinous crimes violating human rights and dignity under international law. This declaration will accordingly address Belgium's interpretation of universal jurisdiction.

4. Acting pursuant to the Belgian Law of 16 June 1993, as amended on 10 February 1999, concerning the punishment of serious violations of international humanitarian law, an investigating judge of the Brussels Tribunal de premiere instance issued an international arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo. Mr. Yerodia was accused of serious violations of humanitarian law and of crimes against humanity. Under Article 7 of that Law, perpetrators of such offences are "subject to the jurisdiction of the Belgian courts, irrespective of their nationality or that of the victims" (arrest warrant, para. 3.4). The interest presented by this decision lies in the fact that the case is truly one of first impression.

5. The Belgian legislation establishing universal jurisdiction in absentia for serious violations of international humanitarian law adopted the broadest possible interpretation of such jurisdiction. The ordinary courts of Belgium have been given jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by non-Belgians outside Belgium, and the warrant issued against Mr. Yerodia is the firs: instance in which this radical approach has been applied. There would appear to be no other legislation which permits the exercise of criminal jurisdiction in the absence of a territorial or personal connecting factor, active or passive. The innovative nature of the Belgian statute lies in the possibility it affords for exercising universal jurisdiction in the absence of any connection between Belgium and the subject-matter of the offence, the alleged offender or the relevant territory. In the wake of the tragic events in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, several States have invoked universal jurisdiction to prosecute persons suspected of crimes under humanitarian law; unlike Mr. Yerodia, however, the individuals in question had first been the subject of some form of proceedings or had been arrested; in other words, there was already a territorial connection.

6. Under international law, the same requirement of a connection ratione loci again applies to the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Maritime piracy affords the sole traditional example where universal jurisdiction exists under customary law. Article 19 of the Geneva Convention of 29 April 1958 and Article 105 of the Montego Bay Convention of 10 December 1982FN1 provide:

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FN1 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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[p 56]

"On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed ..."

Universal jurisdiction under those circumstances may be explained by the lack of any predetermined sovereignty over the high seas and by the regime of their freedom; thus, normally, the jurisdiction of the flag State serves as the mechanism which ensures respect for the law. But since piracy by definition involves the pirate's denial and evasion of the jurisdiction of any State system, the exercise of universal jurisdiction enables the legal order to be re-established. Thus, in this particular situation the conferring of universal jurisdiction on national courts to try pirates and acts of piracy is explained by the harm done to the international system of State jurisdiction. The inherent seriousness of the offence itself has, however, not been deemed sufficient per se to establish universal jurisdiction. Universal jurisdiction has not been established over any other offence committed on the high seas (see, for example: the Conventions of 18 May 1904 and 4 May 1910 (for the suppression of the white slave traffic); the Convention of 30 September 1921 (for the suppression of the traffic in women and children); the Conventions of 28 June 1930 (concerning forced labour) and of 25 June 1957 (abolishing forced labour)).

7. There has been a movement in treaty-basec criminal law over the last few decades towards recognition of the obligation to punish and towards a new system of State jurisdiction in criminal matters. While the 1949 Geneva humanitarian law conventions do give rise to international legal obligations, they contain no prevision concerning the jurisdiction of national courts to enforce those obligations by judicial means. The same is true of the 1948 Genocide Convention. It was not until an international regime was established to combat terrorist attacks on aircraft that provisions were adopted implying the exercise of universal jurisdiction: the Hague Convention of 16 December 1970 enshrined the principle aut judicare aut dedeie in Article 4, paragraph 2, as follows: "Each Contracting State shall . . . take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offence in the case where the alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite him . . ."2 It is to be noted that application of the principle aut judicare aut dedere is conditional or the alleged offender having first been arrested. This provision dating from 1970 served as a model for the extension in various subsequent conventions of the criminal jurisdiction of national courts through the exercise of universal [p 57] jurisdiction. These legal developments did not result in the recognition of jurisdiction in absentia.

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FN2 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft.
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8. In support of its argument, Belgium invokes not only an international legal obligation to punish serious violations of humanitarian law but also a generally recognized discretion to enact legislation in this area. It is not worth commenting further on the lack of merit in the first limb of this argument, which mistakenly confuses the obligation to punish with the manner in which it is fulfilled: namely a claim that national criminal courts have jurisdiction in absentia notwithstanding the lack of any provision conferring such jurisdiction. Thus Belgium's assertion that "[a]s has already been addressed, pursuant to Belgian law, Belgium has the right to investigate grave breaches of international humanitarian law even when the presumptive perpetrator is not found on Belgian territory" (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, p. 89, para. 3.3.28) begs the question. The examples cited in support of this proposition are not persuasive: of the 125 States having national legislation concerning punishment of war crimes and crimes against humanity, only five provide that the presence of the accused in their territory is not required for initiating prosecution (see Counter-Memorial of Belgium, pp. 98-99, para. 3.3.57).

9. Belgium relies on the decision in the "Lotus" case to justify the scope of national legislative powers:
"It does not, however, follow that international law prohibits a State from exercising jurisdiction in its own territory, in respect of any case which relates to acts which have taken place abroad, and in which it cannot rely on some permissive rule of international law . . . Far from laying down a general prohibition ;o the effect that States may not extend the application of their laws and the jurisdiction of their courts to persons, property and acts outside their territory, it leaves them in this respect a wide measure of discretion which is only limited in certain cases by prohibitive rules; as regards other cases, every State remains free to adopt the principles which it regards as best and most suitable." (P. C.I. J., Series A, No. 10, p. 19.)

That same Judgment states further on:

"[A]ll that can be required of a State is that it should not overstep the limits which international law places upon its jurisdiction; . . . The territoriality of criminal law, therefore, is not an absolute principle of international law and by no means coincides with territorial sovereignty." (Ibid., pp. 19-20.)

Doubtless, evolving opinion and political conditions in the contemporary world can be seen as favouring the retreat from the territory-based conception of jurisdiction and the emergence of a more functional approach in the service of higher common ends. Acknowledging such a trend cannot however justify the sacrifice of cardinal principles of law in the name of a particular kind of modernity. Territoriality as the basis of entitle-[p 58] ment to jurisdiction remains a given, the core of contemporary positive international law. Scholarly acceptance of the principle laid down in the "Lotus" case in the context of combating international crimes has not yet found expression in a consequential development of the positive law relating to criminal jurisdiction.

10. Finally, Belgium places particular reliance on the following passage from the "Lotus" Judgment in support of its interpretation of universal jurisdiction in absentia:

"Though it is true that in all systems of law the principle of the territorial character of criminal law is fundamental, it is equally true that all or nearly all these systems of law extend their action to offences committed outside the territory of he State which adopts them, and they do so in ways which vary from State to State." (P.C.I.J., Series A. No. 10, p. 20).

It cannot reasonably be inferred that this proposition establishes universal jurisdiction in absentia. To the contrary, the Permanent Court manifested great caution; it limited its realm of investigation to the case before it and sought close similarities with analogous situations. Any attempt to read into this the bases of universal jurisdiction ia absentia is mere conjecture: the facts of the case were confined to the issue of the Turkish criminal courts' jurisdiction as a result of the arrest in Turkish territorial waters of Lieutenant Demons, the second-in-command of a vessel flying the French flag.

11. In sum, the issue of universal jurisdiction in absentia arises from the problem created by the possibility of extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction in the absence of any connection between the State claiming such jurisdiction and the territory in which the alleged offences took place — of any effective authority of that State over the suspected offenders. This problem stems from the nature of an instrument of criminal process: it is not a mere abstraction; it is enforceable, and, as such, requires a minimum material basis under international law. It follows that an explicit prohibition on the exercise, as construed by Belgium, of universal jurisdiction does not represent a sufficient basis.

12. In conclusion, notwithstanding the deep-seated sense of obligation to give effect to the requirement to prevent and punish crimes under international humanitarian law in order to promote peace and international security, and without there being any overriding consequential need to condemn the Belgian Law of 16 June 1993, as amended on 10 February 1999, it would have been difficult under contemporary positive law not to uphold the Democratic Republic of the Congo's original first submission.

(Signed) Raymond Ranjeva. [p 59]



SEPARATE OPINION OF JUDGE KOROMA

1. The Court in paragraph 46 of the Judgment acknowledged that, as a matter of legal logic, the question of the alleged violation of the immunities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be addressed only once there has been a determination in respect of the legality of the purported exercise of universal jurisdiction by Belgium. However, in the context of the present case and given the main legal issues in contention, the Court chose another technique, another method, of exercising its discretion in arranging the order in which it will respond when more than one issue has been submitted for determination. This technique is not only consistent with the jurisprudence of the Court, but the Court is also entitled to such an approach, given the position taken by the Parties.

2. The Congo, in its final submissions, invoked only the grounds relating to the alleged violation of the immunity of its Foreign Minister, while it had earlier stated that any consideration by the Court of the issues of international law raised by universal jurisdiction would be undertaken not at its request but, rather, by virtue of the defence strategy adopted by Belgium. Belgium, for its part, had, at the outset, maintained that the exercise of universal jurisdiction is a valid counterweight to the observance of immunities, and that it is not that universal jurisdiction is an exception to immunity but rather that immunity is excluded when there is a grave breach of international criminal law. Belgium, nevertheless, asked the Court to limit its jurisdiction to those issues that are the subject of the Congo's final submissions, in particular not to pronounce on the scope and content of the law relating to universal jurisdiction.

3. Thus, since both Parties are in agreement that the subject-matter of the dispute is whether the arrest warrant issued against the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo violates international law, and the Court is asked to pronounce on the question of universal jurisdiction only in so far as it relates to the question of the immunity of a Foreign Minister in office, both Parties had therefore relinquished the issue of universal juris-[p 60]diction; this entitled the Court to apply its well-established principle that it has a "duty . . . not only to reply to the questions as stated in the final submissions of the parties, but also to abstain from deciding points not included in those submissions" (Asylum, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1950, p. 402). In other words, according to the jurisprudence of the Court, it rules on the petitum, or the subject-matter of the dispute as defined by the claims of the Parties in their submissions; the Court is not bound by the grounds and arguments advanced by the Parties in support of their claims, nor is it obliged to address all such claims, as long as it provides a complete answer to the submissions. And that position is also in accordance with the submissions of the Parties.

4. This approach is all the more justified in the present case, which has generated much public interest and where two important legal principles would appear to be in competition, when in fact no such competition exists. The Court came to the conclusion, and rightly in my view, that the issue in contention is not one pitting the principle of universal jurisdiction against the immunity of a Foreign Minister. Rather, the dispute before it is whether the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant by Belgium against the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo violated the immunity of the Foreign Minister, and hence the obligation owed by Belgium to the Congo. The Court is asked to pronounce on the issue of universal jurisdiction only in so far as it relates to the question of the immunity of the Foreign Minister. This, in spite of appearances to the contrary, is the real issue which the Court is called upon to determine and not which of those legal principles is pre-eminent, or should be regarded as such.

5. Although immunity is predicated upon jurisdiction — whether national or international — it must be emphasized that the concepts are not the same. Jurisdiction relates to the power of a State to affect the rights of a person or persons by legislative, executive or judicial means, whereas immunity represents the independence and the exemption from the jurisdiction or competence of the courts and tribunals of a foreign State and is an essential characteristic of a State. Accordingly, jurisdiction and immunity must be in conformity with international law. It is not, however, that immunity represents freedom from legal liability as such, but rather that it represents exemption from legal process. The Court was therefore justified that in this case, in its legal enquiry, it took as its point of departure one of the issues directly relevant to the case for determination, namely whether international law permits an exemption from immunity of an incumbent Foreign Minister and whether the arrest warrant issued against the Foreign Minister violates international law, and came to the conclusion that international law does not permit such exemption from immunity. [p 61]

6. In making its determination, as it pointed out in the Judgment, the Court took into due consideration the pertinent conventions, judicial decisions of both national and international tribunals, resolutions of international organizations and academic institutes before reaching the conclusion that the issue and circulation of the warrant is contrary to international customary law and violated the immunity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The paramount legal justification for this, in my opinion, is that immunity of the Foreign Minister is not only of functional necessity but increasingly these days the Foreign Minister represents the State, even though his or her position is not assimilable to that of Head of State. While it would have been interesting if the Court had done so, the Court did not consider it necessary to undertake a disquisition of the law in order to reach its decision. In acknowledging that the Court refrained from carrying out such an undertaking, in reaching its conclusion, perhaps not wanting to tie its hands when not compelled to do so, the Judgment cannot be said to be juridically constraining or not to have responded to the submissions. The Court's Judgment by its nature may not be as expressive or exhaustive of all the underlying legal principles pertaining to a case, so long as it provides a reasoned and complete answer to the submissions.

7. In the present case, the approach taken by the Court can also be viewed as justified and apposite on practical and other grounds. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo was sued in Belgium, on the basis of Belgian law. According to that law, immunity does not represent a bar to prosecution, even for a Minister for Foreign Affairs in office, when certain grave breaches of international humanitarian law are alleged to have been committed. The immunity claimed by the Foreign Minister is from Belgian national jurisdiction based on Belgian law. The Judgment implies that while Belgium can initiate criminal proceedings in its jurisdiction against anyone, an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of a foreign State is immune from Belgian jurisdiction. International law imposes a limit on Belgium's jurisdiction where the Foreign Minister in office of a foreign State is concerned.

8. On the other hand, in my view, the issue and circulation of the arrest warrant show how seriously Belgium views its international obligation to combat international crimes. Belgium is entitled to invoke its criminal jurisdiction against anyone, save a Foreign Minister in office. It is unfortunate that the wrong case would appear to have been chosen in attempting to carry out what Belgium considers its international obligation.

9. Against this background, the Judgment cannot be seen either as a rejection of the principle of universal jurisdiction, the scope of which has continued to evolve, or as an invalidation of that principle. In my considered opinion, today, together with piracy, universal jurisdiction is available for certain crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against [p 62] humanity, including the slave trade and genocide. The Court did not rule on universal jurisdiction, because it was not indispensable to do so to reach its conclusion, nor was such submission before it. This, to some extent, provides the explanation for the position taken by the Court.

10. With regard to the Court's findings on remedies, the Court's ruling that Belgium must, by means of its own choosing, cancel the arrest warrant and so inform the authorities to whom that warrant was circulated is a legal and an appropriate response in the context of the present case. For, in the first place, it was the issue and circulation of the arrest warrant that triggered and constituted the violation not only of the Foreign Minister's immunity but also of the obligation owed by the Kingdom to the Republic. The instruction to Belgium to cancel the warrant should cure both violations, while at the same time repairing the moral injury suffered by the Congo and restoring the situation to the status quo ante before the warrant was issued and circulated (Factory at Chorzow, Merits, Judgment No. 13, 1928, P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 17, p. 47).

11. In the light of the foregoing, any attempt to qualify the Judgment as formalistic, or to assert that the Court avoided the real issue of the commission of heinous crimes is without foundation. The Court cannot take, and in the present case has not taken, a neutral position on the issue of heinous crimes. Rather, the Court's ruling should be seen as responding to the question asked of it. The ruling ensures that legal concepts are consistent with international law and legal tenets, and accord with legal truth.

(Signed) Abdul G. Koroma. [p 63]


JOINT SEPARATE OPINION OF JUDGES HIGGINS, KOOIJMANS AND BUERGENTHAL

1. We generally agree with what the Court has to say on the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility and also with the conclusions it reaches. There are, however, reservations that we find it necessary to make, both on what the Court has said and what it has chosen not to say when it deals with the merits. Moreover, we consider that the Court erred in ordering Belgium to cancel the outstanding arrest warrant.

**

2. In its Judgment the Court says nothing on the question of whether — quite apart from the status of Mr. Yerodia at the relevant time — the Belgian magistracy was entitled under international law to issue an arrest warrant for someone not at that time within its territory and pass it to Interpol. It has, in effect, acceded to the common wish of the Parties that [p 64] the Court should not pronounce upon the key issue of jurisdiction that divided them, but should rather pass immediately to the question of immunity as it applied to the facts of this case.

3. In our opinion it was not only desirable, but indeed necessary, that the Court should have stated its position on this issue of jurisdiction. The reasons are various. "Immunity" is the common shorthand phrase for "immunity from jurisdiction". If there is no jurisdiction en principe, then the question of an immunity from a jurisdiction which would otherwise exist simply does not arise. The Court, in passing over the question of jurisdiction, has given the impression that "immunity" is a free-standing topic of international law. It is not. "Immunity" and "jurisdiction" are inextricably linked. Whether there is "immunity" in any given instance will depend not only upon the status of Mr. Yerodia but also upon what type of jurisdiction, and on what basis, the Belgian authorities were seeking to assert it.

4. While the notion of "immunity" depends, conceptually, upon a preexisting jurisdiction, there is a distinct corpus of law that applies to each. What can be cited to support an argument about the one is not always relevant to an understanding of the other. In by-passing the issue of jurisdiction the Court has encouraged a regrettable current tendency (which the oral and written pleadings in this case have not wholly avoided) to conflate the two issues.

5. Only if it is fully appreciated that there are two distinct norms of international law in play (albeit that the one — immunity — can arise only if the other —jurisdiction — exists) can the larger picture be seen. One of the challenges of present-day international law is to provide for stability of international relations and effective international intercourse while at the same time guaranteeing respect for human rights. The difficult task that international law today faces is to provide that stability in international relations by a means other than the impunity of those responsible for major human rights violations. This challenge is reflected in the present dispute and the Court should surely be engaged in this task, even as it fulfils its function of resolving a dispute that has arisen before it. But through choosing to look at half the story — immunity — it is not in a position to do so.

6. As Mr. Yerodia was a non-national of Belgium and the alleged offences described in the arrest warrant occurred outside of the territory over which Belgium has jurisdiction, the victims being non-Belgians, the arrest warrant was necessarily predicated on a universal jurisdiction. Indeed, both it and the enabling legislation of 1993 and 1999 expressly say so. Moreover, Mr. Yerodia himself was outside of Belgium at the time the warrant was issued.

7. In its Application instituting proceedings (p. 7), the Democratic Republic of the Congo complained that Article 7 of the Belgian Law: [p 65]

"establishes the universal applicability of the Law and the universal jurisdiction of the Belgian courts in respect of 'serious violations of international humanitarian law', without even making such applicability and jurisdiction conditional on the presence of the accused on Belgian territory.

It is clearly this unlimited jurisdiction which the Belgian State confers upon itself which explains the issue of the arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi, against whom it is patently evident that no basis of territorial or in personam jurisdiction, nor any jurisdiction based on the protection of the security or dignity of the Kingdom of Belgium, could have been invoked. "

In its Memorial, the Congo denied that

"international law recognized such an enlarged criminal jurisdiction as that which Belgium purported to exercise, namely in respect of incidents of international humanitarian law when the accused was not within the prosecuting State's territory" (Memorial of Congo, para. 87). [Translation by the Registry.]

In its oral submissions the Congo once again stated that it was not opposed to the principle of universal jurisdiction per se. But the assertion of a universal jurisdiction over perpetrators of crimes was not an obligation under international law, only an option. The exercise of universal jurisdiction required, in the Congo's view, that the sovereignty of the other State be not infringed and an absence of any breach of an obligation founded in international law (CR 2001/6, p. 33). Further, according to the Congo, States who are not under any obligation to prosecute if the perpetrator is not present on their territory, nonetheless are free to do so in so far as this exercise of jurisdiction does not infringe the sovereignty of another State and is not in breach of international law (ibid.). The Congo stated that it had no intention of discussing the existence of the principle of universal jurisdiction, nor of placing obstacles in the way of any emerging custom regarding universal jurisdiction (ibid., p. 30). As the oral proceedings drew to a close, the Congo acknowledged that the Court might have to pronounce on certain aspects of universal jurisdiction, but it did not request the Court to do so, as the question did not interest it directly (CR 2001/10, p. 11). It was interested to have a ruling from the Court on Belgium's obligations to the Congo in the light of Mr. Yerodia's immunity at the relevant time. The final submissions as contained in the Application were amended so as to remove any request for the Court to make a determination on the issue of universal jurisdiction.

8. Belgium in its Counter-Memorial insisted that there was a general obligation on States under customary international law to prosecute perpetrators of crimes. It conceded, however, that where such persons were non-nationals, outside of its territory, there was no obligation but rather an available option (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, para. 3.3.25). No [p 66] territorial presence was required for the exercise of jurisdiction where the offence violated the fundamental interests of the international community (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, paras. 3.3.44-3.3.52). In Belgium's view an investigation or prosecution mounted against a person outside its territory did not violate any rule of international law, and was accepted both in international practice and in the internal practice of States, being a necessary means of fighting impunity (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, paras. 3.3.28-3.3.74).

9. These submissions were reprised in oral argument, while noting that the Congo "no longer contested] the exercise of universal jurisdiction by default" (CR 2001/9, pp. 8-13). Belgium, too, was eventually content that the Court should pronounce simply on the immunity issue.

10. That the Congo should have gradually come to the view that its interests were best served by reliance on its arguments on immunity, was understandable. So was Belgium's satisfaction that the Court was being asked to pronounce on immunity and not on whether the issue and cir-culations of an international arrest warrant required the presence of the accused on its territory. Whether the Court should accommodate this consensus is another matter.

11. Certainly it is not required to do so by virtue of the ultra petita rule. In the Counter-Memorial Belgium quotes the locus classicus for the non ultra petita rule, the Asylum (Interpretation) case:
"it is the duty of the Court not only to reply to the questions as stated in the final submissions of the parties, but also to abstain from deciding points not included in those submissions" (Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 20 November 1950 in the Asylum Case, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1950, p. 402; Counter-Memorial of Belgium, para. 2.75; emphasis added).

It also quotes Rosenne who said: "It does not confer jurisdiction on the Court or detract jurisdiction from it. It limits the extent to which the Court may go in its decision." (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, para. 2.77.)

12. Close reading of these quotations shows that Belgium is wrong it if wishes to convey to the Court that the non ultra petita rule would bar it from addressing matters not included in the submissions. It only precludes the Court from deciding upon such matters in the operative part of the Judgment since that is the place where the submissions are dealt with. But it certainly does not prevent the Court from considering in its reasoning issues which it deems relevant for its conclusions. As Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice said: [p 67]

"unless certain distinctions are drawn, there is a danger that [the non ultra petita rule] might hamper the tribunal in coming to a correct decision, and might even cause it to arrive at a legally incorrect one, by compelling it to neglect juridically relevant factors" (The Law and Procedure of the International Court of Justice, 1986, Vol. II, pp. 529-530). '

13. Thus the ultra petita rule can operate to preclude a finding of the Court, in the dispositif, on a question not asked in the final submissions by a party. But the Court should not, because one or more of the parties finds it more comfortable for its position, forfeit necessary steps on the way to the finding it does make in the dispositif. The Court has acknowledged this in paragraph 43 of the present Judgment. But having reserved the right to deal with aspects of universal jurisdiction in its reasoning, "should it deem this necessary or desirable", the Court says nothing more on the matter.

14. This may be contrasted with the approach of the Court in the Advisory Opinion request put to it in Certain Expenses of the United Nations (Article 17, Paragraph 2, of the Charter) (I.C.J. Reports 1962, pp. 156-157). (The Court was constrained by the request put to it, rather than by the final submissions of the Applicant, but the point of principle remains the same.) The Court was asked by the General Assembly whether the expenditures incurred in connection with UNEF and ONUC constituted "expenses of the organization" for purposes of Article 17, paragraph 2, of the Charter.

15. France had in fact proposed an amendment to this request, whereby the Court would have been asked to consider whether the expenditures in question were made in conformity with the provisions of the Charter, before proceeding to the question asked. This proposal was rejected. The Court stated

"The rejection of the French amendment does not constitute a directive to the Court to exclude from its consideration the question whether certain expenditures were 'decided on in conformity with the Charter', if the Court finds such consideration appropriate. It is not to be assumed that the General Assembly would thus seek to fetter or hamper the Court in the discharge of its judicial functions; the Court must have full liberty to consider all relevant data available to it in forming an opinion on a question posed to it for an advisory opinion." (Ibid., p. 157.)

The Court further stated that it

"has been asked to answer a specific question related to certain identified expenditures which have actually been made, but the Court would not adequately discharge the obligation incumbent on it unless it examined in some detail various problems raised by the question which the General Assembly has asked" (ibid., p. 158). [p 68]

16. For all the reasons expounded above, the Court should have "found it appropriate" to deal with the question of whether the issue and international circulation of a warrant based on universal jurisdiction in the absence of Mr. Yerodia's presence on Belgian territory was unlawful. This should have been done before making a finding on immunity from jurisdiction, and the Court should indeed have "examined in some detail various problems raised" by the request as formulated by the Congo in its final submissions.

17. In agreeing to pronounce upon the question of immunity without addressing the question of a jurisdiction from which there could be immunity, the Court has allowed itself to be manoeuvred into answering a hypothetical question. During the course of the oral pleadings Belgium drew attention to the fact that Mr. Yerodia had ceased to hold any ministerial office in the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Belgium's view, this meant that the Court should declare the request to pronounce upon immunity to be inadmissible. In Belgium's view the case had become one "about legal principle and the speculative consequences for the immunities of Foreign Ministers from the possible action of a Belgian judge" (CR 2001/8, p. 26, para. 43). The dispute was "a difference of opinion of an abstract nature" (CR 2001/8, p. 36, para. 71). The Court should not "enter into a debate which it may well come to see as essentially an academic exercise" (CR 2001/9, p. 7, para. 4 [translation by the Registry]).

18. In its Judgment the Court rightly rejects those contentions (see Judgment, paras. 30-32). But nothing is more academic, or abstract, or speculative, than pronouncing on an immunity from a jurisdiction that may, or may not, exist. It is regrettable that the Court has not followed the logic of its own findings in the Certain Expenses case, and in this Judgment addressed in the necessary depth the question of whether the Belgian authorities could legitimately have invoked universal jurisdiction in issuing and circulating the arrest warrant for the charges contained therein, and for a person outside the territorial jurisdiction at the moment of the issue of the warrant. Only if the answer to these is in the affirmative does the question arise: "Nevertheless, was Mr. Yerodia immune from such exercise of jurisdiction, and by reference to what moment of time is that question to be answered?"

***

19. We therefore turn to the question whether States are entitled to exercise jurisdiction over persons having no connection with the forum State when the accused is not present in the State's territory. The necessary point of departure must be the sources of international law identified in Article 38, paragraph 1 (c), of the Statute of the Court, together with obligations imposed upon all United Nations Members by Security Council resolutions, or by such General Assembly resolutions as meet the [p 69] criteria enunciated by the Court in the case concerning Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion (I.C.J. Reports 1996, p. 226, para. 70).

20. Our analysis may begin with national legislation, to see if it evidences a State practice. Save for the Belgian legislation of 10 February 1999, national legislation, whether in fulfilment of international treaty obligations to make certain international crimes offences also in national law, or otherwise, does not suggest a universal jurisdiction over these offences. Various examples typify the more qualified practice. The Australian War Crimes Act of 1945, as amended in 1988, provides for the prosecution in Australia of crimes committed between 1 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 by persons who were Australian citizens or residents at the times of being charged with the offences (Arts. 9 and 11). The United Kingdom War Crimes Act of 1991 enables proceedings to be brought for murder, manslaughter or culpable homicide, committed between 1 September 1935 and 5 June 1945, in a place that was part of Germany or under German occupation, and in circumstances where the accused was at the time, or has become, a British citizen or resident of the United Kingdom. The statutory jurisdiction provided for by France, Germany and (in even broader terms) the Netherlands, refer for their jurisdictional basis to the jurisdictional provisions in those international treaties to which the legislation was intended to give effect. It should be noted, however, that the German Government on 16 January 2002 has submitted a legislative proposal to the German Parliament, section 1 of which provides:

"This Code governs all the punishable acts listed herein violating public international law, [and] in the case of felonies listed herein [this Code governs] even if the act was committed abroad and does not show any link to [Germany]."

The Criminal Code of Canada 1985 allows the execution of jurisdiction when at the time of the act or omission the accused was a Canadian citizen or "employed by Canada in a civilian or military capacity"; or the "victim is a Canadian citizen or a citizen of a State that is allied with Canada in an armed conflict", or when "at the time of the act or omission Canada could, in conformity with international law, exercise jurisdiction over the person on the basis of the person's presence in Canada" (Art. 7).

21. All of these illustrate the trend to provide for the trial and punishment under international law of certain crimes that have been committed extraterritorially. But none of them, nor the many others that have been studied by the Court, represent a classical assertion of a universal juris-diction over particular offences committed elsewhere by persons having no relationship or connection with the forum State.

22. The case law under these provisions has largely been cautious so [p 70] far as reliance on universal jurisdiction is concerned. In the Pinochet case in the English courts, the jurisdictional basis was clearly treaty based, with the double criminality rule required for extradition being met by English legislation in September 1988, after which date torture committed abroad was a crime in the United Kingdom as it already was in Spain. In Australia the Federal Court referred to a group of crimes over which international law granted universal jurisdiction, even though national enabling legislation would also be needed (Nulyarimma, 1999: genocide). The High Court confirmed the authority of the legislature to confer jurisdiction on the courts to exercise a universal jurisdiction over war crimes (Polyukhovich, 1991). In Austria (whose Penal Code emphasizes the double-criminality requirement), the Supreme Court found that it had jurisdiction over persons charged with genocide, given that there was not a functioning legal system in the State where the crimes had been committed nor a functioning international criminal tribunal at that point in time (Cvjetkovic, 1994). In France it has been held by a juge destruction that the Genocide Convention does not provide for universal jurisdiction (in re Javor, reversed in the Cour d'Appel on other grounds. The Cour de Cassation ruling equally does not suggest universal jurisdiction). The Munyeshyaka finding by the Cour d'Appel (1998) relies for a finding — at first sight inconsistent — upon cross-reference into the Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda as the jurisdictional basis. In the Qaddafi case the Cour d'Appel relied on passive personality and not on universal jurisdiction (in the Cour de Cassation it was immunity that assumed central importance).

23. In the Bouterse case the Amsterdam Court of Appeal concluded that torture was a crime against humanity, and as such an "extraterritorial jurisdiction" could be exercised over a non-national. However, in the Hoge Raad, the Dutch Supreme Court attached conditions to this exer-cise of extraterritorial jurisdiction (nationality, or presence within the Netherlands at the moment of arrest) on the basis of national legislation.

24. By contrast, a universal jurisdiction has been asserted by the Bavarian Higher Regional Court in respect of a prosecution for genocide (the accused in this case being arrested in Germany). And the case law of the United States has been somewhat more ready to invoke "universal jurisdiction", though considerations of passive personality have also been of key importance (Yunis, 1988; Bin Laden, 2000).

25. An even more ambiguous answer is to be derived from a study of the provisions of certain important treaties of the last 30 years, and the obligations imposed by the parties themselves.
26. In some of the literature on the subject it is asserted that the great international treaties on crimes and offences evidence universality as a ground for the exercise of jurisdiction recognized in international law. (See the interesting recent article of Luis Benavides, "The Universal Juris-[p 71]diction Principle: Nature and Scope", Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional, Vol. 1, p. 58 (2001).) This is doubtful.

27. Article VI of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948, provides:

"Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction."

This is an obligation to assert territorial jurisdiction, though the travaux preparatories do reveal an understanding that this obligation was not intended to affect the right of a State to exercise criminal jurisdiction on its own nationals for acts committed outside the State (A/C.6/SR.134, p. 5). Article VI also provides a potential grant of non-territorial competence to a possible future international tribunal — even this not being automatic under the Genocide Convention but being restricted to those Contracting Parties which would accept its jurisdiction. In recent years it has been suggested in the literature that Article VI does not prevent a State from exercising universal jurisdiction in a genocide case. (And see, more generally, Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (1987), §404.)

28. Article 49 of the First Geneva Convention, Article 50 of the Second Geneva Convention, Article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all of 12 August 1949, provide:

"Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, . . . grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case."

29. Article 85, paragraph 1, of the First Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Convention incorporates this provision by reference.

30. The stated purpose of the provision was that the offences would not be left unpunished (the extradition provisions playing their role in this objective). It may immediately be noted that this is an early form of the aut dedere aut prosequi to be seen in later conventions. But the obligation to prosecute is primary, making it even stronger.

31. No territorial or nationality linkage is envisaged, suggesting a true [p 72] universality principle (see also Henzelin, Le principe de l'universalité en droit pénal international : droit et obligation pour les Etats de poursuivre et juger selon le principe de l'universalité, 2000, pp. 354-356). But a different interpretation is given in the authoritative Pictet Commentary: Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 1952, which contends that this obligation was understood as being an obligation upon States parties to search for offenders who may be on their territory. Is it a true example of universality, if the obligation to search is restricted to the own territory? Does the obligation to search imply a permission to prosecute in absentia, if the search had no result?

32. As no case has touched upon this point, the jurisdictional matter remains to be judicially tested. In fact, there has been a remarkably modest corpus of national case law emanating from the jurisdictional possibilities provided in the Geneva Conventions or in Additional Protocol I.

33. The Single Convention on Narcotics and Drugs, 1961, provides in Article 36, paragraph 2, that:
"(a) (iv) Serious offences heretofore referred to committed either by nationals or by foreigners shall be prosecuted by the Party in whose territory the offence was committed, or by the Party in whose territory the offender is found if extradition is not acceptable in conformity with the law of the Party to which application is made, and if such offender has not already been prosecuted and judgment given."

34. Diverse views were expressed as to whether the State where the offence was committed should have first right to prosecute the offender (E/CN.7/AC.3/9, 11 September 1958, p. 17, fn. 43; cf. E/CN.7/AC.3/9 and Add.l, E/CONF.34/l/Add.l, 6 January 1961, p. 32). Nevertheless, the principle of "primary universal repression" found its way into the text, notwithstanding the strong objections of States such as the United States, New Zealand and India that their national laws only envisaged the prosecution of persons for offences occurring within their national borders. (The development of the concept of "impact jurisdiction" or "effects jurisdiction" has in more recent years allowed continued reliance on territoriality while stretching far the jurisdictional arm.) The compromise reached was to make the provisions of Article 36, paragraph 2 (iv), "subject to the constitutional limitations of a Party, its legal system and domestic law". But the possibility of a universal jurisdiction was not denounced as contrary to international law.

35. The Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 16 December 1970, making preambular reference to the "urgent need" to make such acts "punishable as an offence and to provide for appropriate measures with respect to prosecution and extradition of [p 73] offenders", provided in Article 4 (1) for an obligation to take such measures as may be necessary to establish jurisdiction over these offences and other acts of violence against passengers or crew:

"(a) when the offence is committed on board an aircraft registered in that State;

(b) when the aircraft on board which the offence is committed lands in its territory with the alleged offender still on board;

(c) when the offence is committed on board an aircraft leased without crew to a lessee who has his principal place of business or, if the lessee has no such place of business, his permanent residence, in that State".

Article 4 (2) provided for a comparable obligation to establish jurisdiction where the alleged offender was present in the territory and if he was not extradited pursuant to Article 8 by the territory. Thus here too was a treaty provision for aut dedere aut prosequi, of which the limb was in turn based on the principle of "primary universal repression". The jurisdictional bases provided for in Article 4 (1) (b) and 4 (2), requiring no territorial connection beyond the landing of the aircraft or the presence of the accused, were adopted only after prolonged discussion. The travaux preparatories show States for whom mere presence was an insufficient ground for jurisdiction beginning reluctantly to support this particular type of formula because of the gravity of the offence. Thus the representative of the United Kingdom stated that his country "would see great difficulty in assuming jurisdiction merely on the ground that an aircraft carrying a hijacker had landed in United Kingdom territory". Further,
"normally his country did not accept the principle that the mere presence of an alleged offender within the jurisdiction of a State entitled that State to try him. In view, however, of the gravity of the offence ... he was prepared to support . . . [the proposal on mandatory jurisdiction on the part of the State where a hijacker is found]." (Hague Conference, p. 75, para. 18.)

36. It is also to be noted that Article 4, paragraphs 1 and 2, provides for the mandatory exercise of jurisdiction in the absence of extradition; but does not preclude criminal jurisdiction exercised on alternative grounds of jurisdiction in accordance with national law (though those possibilities are not made compulsory under the Convention).

37. Comparable jurisdictional provisions are to be found in Articles 5 and 8 of the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages of 17 December 1979. The obligation enunciated in Article 8 whereby a State party shall "without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory" submit the case for prosecution if [p 74] it does not extradite the alleged offender, was again regarded as necessary by the majority, given the nature of the crimes (Summary Record, Ad Hoc Committee on the Drafting of an International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (A/AC.188/SR.5, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 35)). The United Kingdom cautioned against moving to universal criminal jurisdiction (ibid., A/AC.188/SR.24, para. 27) while others (Poland, A/AC.188/SR.23, para. 18; Mexico, A/AC.188/SR.16, para. 11) felt the introduction of the principle of universal jurisdiction to be essential. The USSR observed that no State could exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed in another State by nationals of that State without contravening Article 2, paragraph 7, of the Charter. The Convention provisions were in its view to apply only to hostage taking that was a manifestation of international terrorism — another example of initial and understandable positions on jurisdiction being modified in the face of the exceptional gravity of the offence.

38. The Convention against Torture, of 10 December 1984, establishes in Article 5 an obligation to establish jurisdiction

"(a) When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;

(b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State;

(c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate."

If the person alleged to have committed the offence is found in the territory of a State party and is not extradited, submission of the case to the prosecuting authorities shall follow (Art. 7). Other grounds of criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with the relevant national law are not excluded (Art. 5, para. 3), making clear that Article 5, paragraphs 1 and 2, must not be interpreted a contrario. (See J. H. Burgers and H. Danelius, The United Nations Convention against Torture, 1988, p. 133.)

39. The passage of time changes perceptions. The jurisdictional ground that in 1961 had been referred to as the principle of "primary universal repression" came now to be widely referred to by delegates as "universal jurisdiction" — moreover, a universal jurisdiction thought appropriate, since torture, like piracy, could be considered an "offence against the law of nations" (United States: E/CN.4/1367, 1980). Australia, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom eventually dropped their objection that "universal jurisdiction" over torture would create problems under their domestic legal systems. (See E/CN.4/1984/72.)

40. This short historical survey may be summarized as follows.

41. The parties to these treaties agreed both to grounds of jurisdiction [p 75] and as to the obligation to take the measures necessary to establish such jurisdiction. The specified grounds relied on links of nationality of the offender, or the ship or aircraft concerned, or of the victim. See, for example, Article 4 (1), Hague Convention; Article 3(1), Tokyo Convention; Article 5. Hostages Convention; Article 5, Torture Convention. These may properly be described as treaty-based broad extraterritorial jurisdiction. But in addition to these were the parallel provisions whereby a State party in whose jurisdiction the alleged perpetrator of such offences is found shall prosecute him or extradite him. By the loose use of language the latter has come to be referred to as "universal jurisdiction", though this is really an obligatory territorial jurisdiction over persons, albeit in relation to acts committed elsewhere.

***

42. Whether this obligation (whether described as the duty to establish universal jurisdiction, or, more accurately, the jurisdiction to establish a territorial jurisdiction over persons for extraterritorial events) is an obligation only of treaty law, inter partes, or whether it is now, at least as regards the offences articulated in the treaties, an obligation of customary international law was pleaded by the Parties in this case but not addressed in any great detail.

43. Nor was the question of whether any such general obligation applies to crimes against humanity, given that those too are regarded everywhere as comparably heinous crimes. Accordingly, we offer no view on these aspects.

44. However, we note that the inaccurately termed "universal jurisdiction principle" in these treaties is a principle of obligation, while the question in this case is whether Belgium had the right to issue and circulate the arrest warrant if it so chose.

If a dispassionate analysis of State practice and Court decisions suggests that no such jurisdiction is presently being exercised, the writings of eminent jurists are much more mixed. The large literature contains vigorous exchanges of views (which have been duly studied by the Court) suggesting profound differences of opinion. But these writings, important and stimulating as they may be, cannot of themselves and without reference to the other sources of international law, evidence the existence of a jurisdictional norm. The assertion that certain treaties and court decisions rely on universal jurisdiction, which in fact they do not, does not evidence an international practice recognized as custom. And the policy arguments advanced in some of the writings can certainly suggest why a practice or a court decision should be regarded as desirable, or indeed [p 76] lawful; but contrary arguments are advanced, too, and in any event these also cannot serve to substantiate an international practice where virtually none exists.
45. That there is no established practice in which States exercise universal jurisdiction, properly so called, is undeniable. As we have seen, virtually all national legislation envisages links of some sort to the forum State; and no case law exists in which pure universal jurisdiction has formed the basis of jurisdiction. This does not necessarily indicate, however, that such an exercise would be unlawful. In the first place, national legislation reflects the circumstances in which a State provides in its own law the ability to exercise jurisdiction. But a State is not required to legislate up to the full scope of the jurisdiction allowed by international law. The war crimes legislation of Australia and the United Kingdom afford examples of countries making more confined choices for the exercise of jurisdiction. Further, many countries have no national legislation for the exercise of well recognized forms of extraterritorial jurisdiction, sometimes notwithstanding treaty obligations to enable themselves so to act. National legislation may be illuminating as to the issue of universal jurisdiction, but not conclusive as to its legality. Moreover, while none of the national case law to which we have referred happens to be based on the exercise of a universal jurisdiction properly so called, there is equally nothing in this case law which evidences an opinio juris on the illegality of such a jurisdiction. In short, national legislation and case law — that is, State practice — is neutral as to exercise of universal jurisdiction.

46. There are, moreover, certain indications that a universal criminal jurisdiction for certain international crimes is clearly not regarded as unlawful. The duty to prosecute under those treaties which contain the aut dedere aut prosequi provisions opens the door to a jurisdiction based on the heinous nature of the crime rather than on links of territoriality or nationality (whether as perpetrator or victim). The 1949 Geneva Conventions lend support to this possibility, and are widely regarded as today reflecting customary international law. (See, for example, Cherif Bassiouni, International Criminal Law, Vol. Ill: Enforcement, 2nd ed., 1999, p. 228; Theodor Meron, "International Criminalization of Internal Atrocities", 89 AJIL (1995), p. 576.)

47. The contemporary trends, reflecting international relations as they stand at the beginning of the new century, are striking. The movement is towards bases of jurisdiction other than territoriality. "Effects" or "impact" jurisdiction is embraced both by the United States and, with certain qualifications, by the European Union. Passive personality jurisdiction, for so long regarded as controversial, is now reflected not only in [p 77] the legislation of various countries (the United States, Ch. 113A, 1986 Omnibus Diplomatic and Antiterrorism Act; France, Art. 689, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1975), and today meets with relatively little opposition, at least so far as a particular category of offences is concerned.

48. In civil matters we already see the beginnings of a very broad form of extraterritorial jurisdiction. Under the Alien Tort Claims Act, the United States, basing itself on a law of 1789, has asserted a jurisdiction both over human rights violations and over major violations of interna-tional law, perpetrated by non-nationals overseas. Such jurisdiction, with the possibility of ordering payment of damages, has been exercised with respect to torture committed in a variety of countries (Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala), and with respect to other major human rights violations in yet other countries. While this unilateral exercise of the function of guardian of international values has been much commented on, it has not attracted the approbation of States generally.
49. Belgium — and also many writers on this subject — find support for the exercise of a universal criminal jurisdiction in absentia in the "Lotus" case. Although the case was clearly decided on the basis of jurisdiction over damage to a vessel of the Turkish navy and to Turkish nationals, it is the famous dictum of the Permanent Court which has attracted particular attention. The Court stated that:

"[T]he first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that — failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary — it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State. In this sense jurisdiction is certainly territo-rial; it cannot be exercised by a State outside its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or convention.

It does not, however, follow that international law prohibits a State from exercising jurisdiction in its own territory, in respect of any case which relates to acts which have taken place abroad, and in which it cannot rely on some permissive rule of international law. Such a view would only be tenable if international law contained a general prohibition to States to extend the application of their laws and the jurisdiction of their courts to persons, property and acts outside their territory, and if, as an exception to this general prohibition, it allowed States to do so in certain specific cases. But this is certainly not the case under international law as it stands at present. Far from laying down a general prohibition to the effect that States may not extend the application of their laws and the jurisdiction of their courts to persons, property and acts outside their territory, it leaves them in this respect a wide measure of discretion which is only [p 78]limited in certain cases by prohibitive rules; as regards other cases, every State remains free to adopt the principles which it regards as best and most suitable." (P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 10, pp. 18-19.)

The Permanent Court acknowledged that consideration had to be given as to whether these principles would apply equally in the field of criminal jurisdiction, or whether closer connections might there be required. The Court noted the importance of the territorial character of criminal law but also the fact that all or nearly all systems of law extend their action to offences committed outside the territory of the State which adopts them, and they do so in ways which vary from State to State. After examining the issue the Court finally concluded that for an exercise of extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction (other than within the territory of another State) it was equally necessary to "prove the existence of a principle of international law restricting the discretion of States as regards criminal legislation".

50. The application of this celebrated dictum would have clear attendant dangers in some fields of international law. (See, on this point, Judge Shahabuddeen's dissenting opinion in the case concerning Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1996, pp. 394-396.) Nevertheless, it represents a continuing potential in the context of jurisdiction over international crimes.

51. That being said, the dictum represents the high water mark of laissez-faire in international relations, and an era that has been significantly overtaken by other tendencies. The underlying idea of universal jurisdiction properly so-called (as in the case of piracy, and possibly in the Geneva Conventions of 1949), as well as the aut dedere aut prosequi variation, is a common endeavour in the face of atrocities. The series of multilateral treaties with their special jurisdictional provisions reflect a determination by the international community that those engaged in war crimes, hijacking, hostage taking, torture should not go unpunished. Although crimes against humanity are not yet the object of a distinct convention, a comparable international indignation at such acts is not to be doubted. And those States and academic writers who claim the right to act unilaterally to assert a universal criminal jurisdiction over persons committing such acts, invoke the concept of acting as "agents for the international community". This vertical notion of the authority of action is significantly different from the horizontal system of international law envisaged in the "Lotus" case.

At the same time, the international consensus that the perpetrators of international crimes should not go unpunished is being advanced by a flexible strategy, in which newly established international criminal tribunals, treaty obligations and national courts all have their part to play. We reject the suggestion that the battle against impunity is "made over" to international treaties and tribunals, with national courts having no com-[p 79]petence in such matters. Great care has been taken when formulating the relevant treaty provisions not to exclude other grounds of jurisdiction that may be exercised on a voluntary basis. (See Article 4 (3), Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 1970; Article 5 (3), International Convention against Taking of Hostages, 1979; Article 5 (3), Convention against Torture; Article 9, Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; and Article 19, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.)

52. We may thus agree with the authors of Oppenheim's International Law (9th ed., p. 998), that:

"While no general rule of positive international law can as yet be asserted which gives to states the right to punish foreign nationals for crimes against humanity in the same way as they are, for instance, entitled to punish acts of piracy, there are clear indications pointing to the gradual evolution of a significant principle of international law to that effect."

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53. This brings us once more to the particular point that divides the Parties in this case: is it a precondition of the assertion of universal jurisdiction that the accused be within the territory?

54. Considerable confusion surrounds this topic, not helped by the fact that legislators, courts and writers alike frequently fail to specify the precise temporal moment at which any such requirement is said to be in play. Is the presence of the accused within the jurisdiction said to be required at the time the offence was committed? At the time the arrest warrant is issued? Or at the time of the trial itself? An examination of national legislation, cases and writings reveals a wide variety of temporal linkages to the assertion of jurisdiction. This incoherent practice cannot be said to evidence a precondition to any exercise of universal criminal jurisdiction. The fact that in the past the only clear example of an agreed exercise of universal jurisdiction was in respect of piracy, outside of any territorial jurisdiction, is not determinative. The only prohibitive rule (repeated by the Permanent Court in the "Lotus" case) is that criminal jurisdiction should not be exercised, without permission, within the territory of another State. The Belgian arrest warrant envisaged the arrest of Mr. Yerodia in Belgium, or the possibility of his arrest in third States at the discretion of the States concerned. This would in principle seem to violate no existing prohibiting rule of international law.

55. In criminal law, in particular, it is said that evidence-gathering requires territorial presence. But this point goes to any extraterritoriality, including those that are well established and not just to universal jurisdiction
.
56. Some jurisdictions provide for trial in absentia; others do not. If it [p 80] is said that a person must be within the jurisdiction at the time of the trial itself, that may be a prudent guarantee for the right of fair trial but has little to do with bases of jurisdiction recognized under international law.

57. On what basis is it claimed, alternatively, that an arrest warrant may not be issued for non-nationals in respect of offences occurring outside the jurisdiction? The textual provisions themselves of the 1949 Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol give no support to this view. The great treaties on aerial offences, hijacking, narcotics and torture are built around the concept of aut dedere aut prosequi. Definitionally, this envisages presence on the territory. There cannot be an obligation to extradite someone you choose not to try unless that person is within your reach. National legislation, enacted to give effect to these treaties, quite naturally also may make mention of the necessity of the presence of the accused. These sensible realities are critical for the obligatory exercise of aut dedere aut prosequi jurisdiction, but cannot be interpreted a contrario so as to exclude a voluntary exercise of a universal jurisdiction.

58. If the underlying purpose of designating certain acts as international crimes is to authorize a wide jurisdiction to be asserted over persons committing them, there is no rule of international law (and certainly not the aut dedere principle) which makes illegal co-operative overt acts designed to secure their presence within a State wishing to exercise jurisdiction.

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59. If, as we believe to be the case, a State may choose to exercise a universal criminal jurisdiction in absentia, it must also ensure that certain safeguards are in place. They are absolutely essential to prevent abuse and to ensure that the rejection of impunity does not jeopardize stable relations between States.

No exercise of criminal jurisdiction may occur which fails to respect the inviolability or infringes the immunities of the person concerned. We return below to certain aspects of this facet, but will say at this juncture that commencing an investigation on the basis of which an arrest warrant may later be issued does not of itself violate those principles. The function served by the international law of immunities does not require that States fail to keep themselves informed.

A State contemplating bringing criminal charges based on universal jurisdiction must first offer to the national State of the prospective accused person the opportunity itself to act upon the charges concerned. The Court makes reference to these elements in the context of this case at paragraph 16 of its Judgment.

Further, such charges may only be laid by a prosecutor or juge d'instruction who acts in full independence, without links to or control [p 81] by the government of that State. Moreover, the desired equilibrium between the battle against impunity and the promotion of good inter-State relations will only be maintained if there are some special circumstances that do require the exercise of an international criminal jurisdiction and if this has been brought to the attention of the prosecutor or juge d'instruction. For example, persons related to the victims of the case will have requested the commencement of legal proceedings.

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60. It is equally necessary that universal criminal jurisdiction be exercised only over those crimes regarded as the most heinous by the international community.

61. Piracy is the classical example. This jurisdiction was, of course, exercised on the high seas and not as an enforcement jurisdiction within the territory of a non-agreeing State. But this historical fact does not mean that universal jurisdiction only exists with regard to crimes committed on the high seas or in other places outside national territorial jurisdiction. Of decisive importance is that this jurisdiction was regarded as lawful because the international community regarded piracy as damaging to the interests of all. War crimes and crimes against humanity are no less harmful to the interests of all because they do not usually occur on the high seas. War crimes (already since 1949 perhaps a treaty-based provision for universal jurisdiction) may be added to the list. The specification of their content is largely based upon the 1949 Conventions and those parts of the 1977 Additional Protocols that reflect general international law. Recent years have also seen the phenomenon of an alignment of national jurisdictional legislation on war crimes, specifying those crimes under the statutes of the ICTY, ICTR and the intended ICC.

62. The substantive content of the concept of crimes against humanity, and its status as crimes warranting the exercise of universal jurisdiction, is undergoing change. Article 6 (c) of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal of 8 August 1945 envisaged them as a category linked with those crimes over which the Tribunal had jurisdiction (war crimes, crimes against the peace). In 1950 the International Law Commission defined them as murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or other inhuman acts perpetrated on the citizen population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds if in exercise of, or connection with, any crime against peace or a war crime (Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, Principle VI (c), pp. 374-377). Later definitions of crimes against humanity both widened the subject-matter, to include such offences as torture and rape, and de-coupled the link to other earlier established crimes. Crimes against humanity are now regarded as a distinct category. Thus the 1996 Draft Code of Crimes [p 82] against the Peace and Security of Mankind, adopted by the International Law Commission at its 48th session, provides that crimes against humanity

"means any of the following acts, when committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or any organization or group:

(a) Murder;

(b) Extermination;

(c) Torture;

(d) Enslavement;

(e) Persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds;

(f) Institutionalized discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds involving the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms and resulting in seriously disadvantaging a part of the population;

(g) Arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(h) Arbitrary imprisonment;

(i) Forced disappearance of persons;

(j) Rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse;

(k) Other inhumane acts which severely damage physical or mental integrity, health or human dignity, such as mutilation and severe bodily harm".

63. The Belgian legislation of 1999 asserts a universal jurisdiction over acts broadly defined as "grave breaches of international humanitarian law", and the list is a compendium of war crimes and the Draft Codes of Offences listing of crimes against humanity, with genocide being added. Genocide is also included as a listed "crime against humanity" in the 1968 Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutes of Limitation to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as well as being included in the ICTY, ICTR and ICC Statutes.

64. The arrest warrant issued against Mr. Yerodia accuses him both of war crimes and of crimes against humanity. As regards the latter, charges of incitement to racial hatred, which are said to have led to murders and lynchings, were specified. Fitting of this charge within the generally understood substantive context of crimes against humanity is not without its problems. "Racial hatred" would need to be assimilated to "persecution on racial grounds", or, on the particular facts, to mass murder and extermination. Incitement to perform any of these acts is not in terms listed in the usual definitions of crimes against humanity, nor is it explicitly mentioned in the Statutes of the ICTY or the ICTR, nor in the Rome [p 83] Statute for the ICC. However, Article 7 (1) of the ICTY and Article 6 (1) of the ICTR do stipulate that

"any person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided or abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of a crime referred to [in the relevant articles: crimes against humanity being among them] shall be individually responsible for the crime".

In the Akayesu Judgment (96-4-T) a Chamber of the ICTR has held that liability for a crime against humanity includes liability through incitement to commit the crime concerned (paras. 481-482). The matter is dealt with in a comparable way in Article 25 (3) of the Rome Statute.

65. It would seem (without in any way pronouncing upon whether Mr. Yerodia did or did not perform the acts with which he is charged in the warrant) that the acts alleged do fall within the concept of "crimes against humanity" and would be within that small category in respect of which an exercise of universal jurisdiction is not precluded under international law.

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66. A related point can usefully be dealt with at this juncture. Belgium contended that, regardless of how international law stood on the matter of universal jurisdiction, it had in fact exercised no such jurisdiction. Thus, according to Belgium, there was neither a violation of any immunities that Mr. Yerodia might have, nor any infringement of the sovereignty of the Congo. To this end, Belgium, in its Counter-Memorial, observed that immunity from enforcement of the warrant was carefully provided for "representatives of foreign States who visit Belgium on the basis of any official invitation. In such circumstances, the warrant makes clear that the person concerned would be immune from enforcement in Belgium" (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, para. 1.12). Belgium further observed that the arrest warrant

"has no legal effect at all either in or as regards the DRC. Although the warrant was circulated internationally for information by Interpol in June 2000, it was not the subject of a Red Notice. Even had it been, the legal effect of Red Notices is such that, for the DRC, it would not have amounted to a request for provisional arrest, let alone a formal request for extradition." (Counter-Memorial of Belgium, para. 3.1.12.) [Translation by the Registry.]

67. It was explained to the Court that a primary purpose in issuing an international warrant was to learn the whereabouts of a person. Mr. Yerodia's whereabouts were known at all times. [p 84]

68. We have not found persuasive the answers offered by Belgium to a question put to it by Judge Koroma, as to what the purpose of the warrant was, if it was indeed so carefully formulated as to render it unenforceable.

69. We do not feel it can be said that, given these explanations by Belgium, there was no exercise of jurisdiction as such that could attract immunity or infringe the Congo's sovereignty. If a State issues an arrest warrant against the national of another State, that other State is entitled to treat it as such — certainly unless the issuing State draws to the attention of the national State the clauses and provisions said to vacate the warrant of all efficacy. Belgium has conceded that the purpose of the international circulation of the warrant was "to establish a legal basis for the arrest of Mr. Yerodia . . . abroad and his subsequent extradition to Belgium". An international arrest warrant, even though a Red Notice has not yet been linked, is analogous to the locking-on of radar to an aircraft: it is already a statement of willingness and ability to act and as such may be perceived as a threat so to do at a moment of Belgium's choosing. Even if the action of a third State is required, the ground has been prepared.
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70. We now turn to the findings of the Court on the impact of the issue of circulation of the warrant on the inviolability and immunity of Mr. Yerodia.

71. As to the matter of immunity, although we agree in general with what has been said in the Court's Judgment with regard to the specific issue put before it, we nevertheless feel that the approach chosen by the Court has to a certain extent transformed the character of the case before it. By focusing exclusively on the immunity issue, while at the same time bypassing the question of jurisdiction, the impression is created that immunity has value per se, whereas in reality it is an exception to a normative rule which would otherwise apply. It reflects, therefore, an interest which in certain circumstances prevails over an otherwise predominant interest, it is an exception to a jurisdiction which normally can be exercised and it can only be invoked when the latter exists. It represents an interest of its own that must always be balanced, however, against the interest of that norm to which it is an exception.

72. An example is the evolution the concept of State immunity in civil law matters has undergone over time. The original concept of absolute immunity, based on status (par in par em non habet imperium) has been replaced by that of restrictive immunity; within the latter a distinction was made between acta jure imperii and acta jure gestionis but immunity is granted only for the former. The meaning of these two notions is not carved in stone, however; it is subject to a continuously changing inter-[p 85]pretation which varies with time reflecting the changing priorities of society.

73. A comparable development can be observed in the field of international criminal law. As we said in paragraph 49, a gradual movement towards bases of jurisdiction other than territoriality can be discerned. This slow but steady shifting to a more extensive application of extraterritorial jurisdiction by States reflects the emergence of values which enjoy an ever-increasing recognition in international society. One such value is the importance of the punishment of the perpetrators of international crimes. In this respect it is necessary to point out once again that this development not only has led to the establishment of new international tribunals and treaty systems in which new competences are attributed to national courts but also to the recognition of other, non-territorially based grounds of national jurisdiction (see paragraph 51 above).

74. The increasing recognition of the importance of ensuring that the perpetrators of serious international crimes do not go unpunished has had its impact on the immunities which high State dignitaries enjoyed under traditional customary law. Now it is generally recognized that in the case of such crimes, which are often committed by high officials who make use of the power invested in the State, immunity is never substantive and thus cannot exculpate the offender from personal criminal responsibility. It has also given rise to a tendency, in the case of international crimes, to grant procedural immunity from jurisdiction only for as long as the suspected State official is in office.

75. These trends reflect a balancing of interests. On the one scale, we find the interest of the community of mankind to prevent and stop impunity for perpetrators of grave crimes against its members; on the other, there is the interest of the community of States to allow them to act freely on the inter-State level without unwarranted interference. A balance therefore must be struck between two sets of functions which are both valued by the international community. Reflecting these concerns, what is regarded as a permissible jurisdiction and what is regarded as the law on immunity are in constant evolution. The weights on the two scales are not set for all perpetuity. Moreover, a trend is discernible that in a world which increasingly rejects impunity for the most repugnant offences, the attribution of responsibility and accountability is becoming firmer, the possibility for the assertion of jurisdiction wider and the availability of immunity as a shield more limited. The law of privileges and immunities, however, retains its importance since immunities are granted to high State officials to guarantee the proper functioning of the network of mutual inter-State relations, which is of paramount importance for a well-ordered and harmonious international system. [p 86]

76. Such is the backdrop of the case submitted to the Court. Belgium claims that under international law it is permitted to initiate criminal proceedings against a State official who is under suspicion of having committed crimes which are generally condemned by the international community; and it contends that because of the nature of these crimes the individual in question is no longer shielded by personal immunity. The Congo does not deny that a Foreign Minister is responsible in international law for all of his acts. It asserts instead that he has absolute personal immunity from criminal jurisdiction as long as he is in office and that his status must be assimilated in this respect to that of a Head of State (Memorial of Congo, p. 30).

77. Each of the Parties, therefore, gives particular emphasis in its argument to one set of interests referred to above: Belgium to that of the prevention of impunity, the Congo to that of the prevention of unwarranted outside interference as the result of an excessive curtailment of immunities and an excessive extension of jurisdiction.

78. In the Judgment, the Court diminishes somewhat the significance of Belgium's arguments. After having emphasized — and we could not agree more — that the immunity from jurisdiction enjoyed by incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs does not mean that they enjoy impunity in respect of any crimes they might have committed (para. 60), the Court goes on to say that these immunities do not represent a bar to criminal prosecution in certain circumstances (para. 61). We feel less than sanguine about examples given by the Court of such circumstances. The chance that a Minister for Foreign Affairs will be tried in his own country in accordance with the relevant rules of domestic law or that his immunity will be waived by his own State is not high as long as there has been no change of power, whereas the existence of a competent international criminal court to initiate criminal proceedings is rare; moreover, it is quite risky to expect too much of a future international criminal court in this respect. The only credible alternative therefore seems to be the possibility of starting proceedings in a foreign court after the suspected person ceases to hold the office of Foreign Minister. This alternative, however, can also be easily forestalled by an uncooperative government that keeps the Minister in office for an as yet indeterminate period.

79. We wish to point out, however, that the frequently expressed conviction of the international community that perpetrators of grave and inhuman international crimes should not go unpunished does not ipso facto mean that immunities are unavailable whenever impunity would be the outcome. The nature of such crimes and the circumstances under which they are committed, usually by making use of the State apparatus, makes it less than easy to find a convincing argument for shielding the alleged perpetrator by granting him or her immunity from criminal pro-cess. But immunities serve other purposes which have their own intrinsic value and to which we referred in paragraph 77 above. International law [p 87] seeks the accommodation of this value with the fight against impunity, and not the triumph of one norm over the other. A State may exercise the criminal jurisdiction which it has under international law, but in doing so it is subject to other legal obligations, whether they pertain to the non-exercise of power in the territory of another State or to the required respect for the law of diplomatic relations or, as in the present case, to the procedural immunities of State officiais. In view of the worldwide aversion to these crimes, such immunities have to be recognized with restraint, in particular when there is reason to believe that crimes have been committed which have been universally condemned in international conventions. It is, therefore, necessary to analyse carefully the immunities which under customary international law are due to high State officials and, in particular, to Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

80. Under traditional customary law the Head of State was seen as personifying the sovereign State. The immunity to which he was entitled was therefore predicated on status, just like the State he or she symbolized. Whereas State practice in this regard is extremely scarce, the immu-nities to which other high State officials (like Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs) are entitled have generally been considered in the literature as merely functional. (Cf. Arthur Watts, "The Legal Position in International Law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1994, Vol. 247, pp. 102-103.)

81. We have found no basis for the argument that Ministers for Foreign Affairs are entitled to the same immunities as Heads of State. In this respect, it should be pointed out that paragraph 3.2 of the International Law Commission's Draft Articles on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property of 1991, which contained a saving clause for the privileges and immunities of Heads of State, failed to include a similar provision for those of Ministers for Foreign Affairs (or Heads of Government). In its commentary, the ILC stated that mentioning the privileges and immunities of Ministers for Foreign Affairs would raise the issues of the basis and the extent of their jurisdictional immunity. In the opinion of the ILC these immunities were clearly not identical to those of Heads of State.

82. The Institut de droit international took a similar position in 2001 with regard to Foreign Ministers. Its resolution on the Immunity of Heads of State, based on a thorough report on all relevant State practice, states expressly that these "shall enjoy, in criminal matters, immunity from jurisdiction before the courts of a foreign State for any crime he or she may have committed, regardless of its gravity". But the Institut, which in this resolution did assimilate the position of Head of Government to that of Head of State, carefully avoided doing the same with regard to the Foreign Minister. [p 88]

83. We agree, therefore, with the Court that the purpose of the immunities attaching to Ministers for Foreign Affairs under customary international law is to ensure the free performance of their functions on behalf of their respective States (Judgment, para. 53). During their term of office, they must therefore be able to travel freely whenever the need to do so arises. There is broad agreement in the literature that a Minister for Foreign Affairs is entitled to full immunity during official visits in the exercise of his function. This was also recognized by the Belgian investi-gating judge in the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000. The Foreign Minister must also be immune whenever and wherever engaged in the functions required by his office and when in transit therefor.

84. Whether he is also entitled to immunities during private travels and what is the scope of any such immunities, is far less clear. Certainly, he or she may not be subjected to measures which would prevent effective performance of the functions of a Foreign Minister. Detention or arrest would constitute such a measure and must therefore be considered an infringement of the inviolability and immunity from criminal process to which a Foreign Minister is entitled. The arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 was directly enforceable in Belgium and would have obliged the police authorities to arrest Mr. Yerodia had he visited that country for non-official reasons. The very issuance of the warrant therefore must be considered to constitute an infringement on the inviolability to which Mr. Yerodia was entitled as long as he held the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo.

85. Nonetheless, that immunity prevails only as long as the Minister is in office and continues to shield him or her after that time only for "official" acts. It is now increasingly claimed in the literature (see for example, Andrea Bianchi, "Denying State Immunity to Violators of Human Rights", 46 Austrian Journal of Public and International Law (1994), pp. 227-228) that serious international crimes cannot be regarded as official acts because they are neither normal State functions nor functions that a State alone (in contrast to an individual) can perform (Goff, J. (as he then was) and Lord Wilberforce articulated this test in the case of 1° Congreso del Partido (1978) QB 500 at 528 and (1983) AC 244 at 268, respectively). This view is underscored by the increasing realization that State-related motives are not the proper test for determining what con-stitutes public State acts. The same view is gradually also finding expression in State practice, as evidenced in judicial decisions and opinions. (For an early example, see the judgment of the Israel Supreme Court in the Eichmann case; Supreme Court, 29 May 1962, 36 International Law Reports, p. 312.) See also the speeches of Lords Hutton and Phillips of Worth Matravers in R. v. Bar tie and the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Others, ex parte Pinochet ("Pinochet III"); and of Lords Steyn and Nicholls of Birkenhead in "Pinochet I", as well as the
[p 89] judgment of the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam in the Bouterse case (Gerechtshof Amsterdam, 20 November 2000, para. 4.2.)

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86. We have voted against paragraph (3) of the dispositif for several reasons.

87. In paragraph (3) of the dispositif, the Court "[f]inds that the Kingdom of Belgium must, by means of its own choosing, cancel the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 and so inform the authorities to whom that warrant was circulated". In making this finding, the Court relies on the proposition enunciated in the Factory at Chorzow case pursuant to which "reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and re-establish the situation which would . . . have existed if that act had not been committed" (P.C.I.J., Series A. No. 17, p. 47). Having previously found that the issuance and circulation of the warrant by Belgium was illegal under international law, the Court concludes that it must be withdrawn because "the warrant is still extant, and remains unlawful, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Yerodia has ceased to be Minister for Foreign Affairs".

88. We have been puzzled by the Court's reliance on the Factory at Chorzow case to support its finding in paragraph (3) of the dispositif. It would seem that the Court regards its order for the cancellation of the warrant as a form of restitutio in integrum. Even in the very different cir-cumstances which faced the Permanent Court in the Factory at Chorzow case, restitutio in the event proved impossible. Nor do we believe that restoration of the status quo ante is possible here, given that Mr. Yerodia is no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs.

89. Moreover — and this is more important — the Judgment suggests that what is at issue here is a continuing illegality, considering that a call for the withdrawal of an instrument is generally perceived as relating to the cessation of a continuing international wrong (International Law Commission, Commentary on Article 30 of the Articles of State Responsibility, A/56/10 (2001), p. 216). However, the Court's finding in the instant case that the issuance and circulation of the warrant was illegal, a conclusion which we share, was based on the fact that these acts took place at a time when Mr. Yerodia was Minister for Foreign Affairs. As soon as he ceased to be Minister for Foreign Affairs, the illegal consequences attaching to the warrant also ceased. The mere fact that the warrant continues to identify Mr. Yerodia as Minister for Foreign Affairs changes nothing in this regard as a matter of international law, although it may well be that a misnamed arrest warrant, which is all it now is, may be deemed to be defective as a matter of Belgian domestic law; but that [p 90] is not and cannot be of concern to this Court. Accordingly, we consider that the Court erred in its finding on this point.

(Signed) Rosalyn Higgins.
(Signed) Pieter Kooijmans.
(Signed) Thomas Buergenthal. [p 91]


SEPARATE OPINION OF JUDGE REZEK

[Translation ]

1. I am convinced that I am in the process of writing a dissenting opinion, even though it must be classified as a separate opinion because I voted in favour of the entire operative part of the Judgment. Like the majority of Members of the Court, I fully concur with the operative part, because I find the treatment of the question of immunity to be in conformity with the law as it now stands. I do, however, regret that no majority could be found to address the crucial aspect of the problem before the Court.

2. No immunity is absolute, in any legal order. An immunity must necessarily exist within a particular context, and no subject of law can enjoy immunity in the abstract. Thus, an immunity might be available before one national court but not before another. Similarly, an immunity might be effective in respect of domestic courts but not of an international one. Within a given legal order, an immunity might be relied upon in relation to criminal proceedings but not to civi proceedings, or vis-à-vis an ordinary court but not a special tribunal.

3. The question of jurisdiction thus inevitably precedes that of immunity. Moreover, the two issues were debated at length by the Parties both in their written pleadings and in oral argument. The fact that the Congo confined itself in its final submissions to asking the Court to render a decision based on its former Minister's immunity vis-à-vis the Belgian domestic court does not justify the Court's disregard of an inescapable premise underlying consideration of the issue o" immunity. Here, the point is not to follow the order in which the issues were submitted to the Court for consideration but rather to respect the order which a strictly logical approach requires. Otherwise, we are impelled towards a situation where the Court is deciding whether or not there would be immunity in the event that the Belgian courts were to have jurisdiction . . .

4. By ruling first on the jurisdictional issue, the Court would have had the opportunity to point out that domestic criminal jurisdiction based [p 92] solely on the principle of universal justice is necessarily subsidiary in nature and that there are good reasons for that. First, it is accepted that no forum is as qualified as that of the locus delicti to see a criminal trial through to its conclusion in the proper manner, if for no other reasons than that the evidence lies closer to hand and that that forum has greater knowledge of the accused and the victims, as well as a clearer appreciation of the full circumstances surrounding the offence. It is for political rather than practical reasons that a number of domestic systems rank, immediately after the principle of territoriality, a basis of criminal jurisdiction of a different kind, one which applies irrespective of the locus delicti: the principle of the defence of certain legal interests to which the State attaches particular value: the life and physical integrity of the sovereign, the national heritage, good governance.

5. With the exception of these two basic principles, complementarity is becoming the rule: in most countries, criminal proceedings are possible on the basis of the principles of active or passive nationality where crimes have been committed abroad by or against nationals of the forum State, but on condition that those crimes have not been tried elsewhere, in a State where criminal jurisdiction would more naturally lie, and provided that the accused is present on the territory of the forum State, of which either he himself or his victims are nationals.

6. In no way does international law as it now stands allow for activist intervention, whereby a State seeks out on another State's territory, by means of an extradition request or an international arrest warrant, an individual accused of crimes under public international law but having no factual connection with the forum State. It required considerable presumption to suggest that Belgium was "obliged" to initiate criminal proceedings in the present case. Something which is not permitted cannot, a fortiori, be required. Even disregarding the question of the accused's immunity, the Respondent has been unable to point to a single other State which has in similar circumstances gone ahead with a public prosecution. No "nascent customary law" derives from the isolated action of one State; there is no embryonic customary rule in the making, notwithstanding that the Court, in addressing the issue of jurisdiction, acceded to the Respondent's request not to impose any restraint on the formative process of the law.

7. Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, on the protection of civilian persons in time of war, an article which also appears in the other three 1949 Conventions, is, of all the norms of current treaty law, the one which could best support the Respondent's position founding the exercise of criminal jurisdiction solely on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction. That provision obliges States to search for and either hand over or try individuals accused of the crimes defined by the relevant Convention. However, quite apart from the fact that the present case does not come within the scope, as strictly defined, of the 1949 Con-[p 93]ventions, we must also bear in mind, as Ms Chemillier-Gendreau recalled in order to clarify the provision's meaning, the point made by one of the most distinguished specialists in international criminal law (and in the criminal aspects of international law), Professor Claude Lombois:

"Wherever that condition is not put into words, it must be taken to be implied: how could a State search for a criminal in a territory other than its own? How could it hand him over if he were not present in its territory? Both searching and handing over presuppose coercive acts, linked to the prerogatives of sovereign authority, the spatial limits of which are defined by the territory."FN1

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FN1 CR 2001/6, p. 31.
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8. It is essential that all States ask themselves, be ore attempting to steer public international law in a direction conflicting with certain principles which still govern contemporary international relations, what the consequences would be should other States, and possibly a large number of other States, adopt such a practice. Thus it was apt for the Parties to discuss before the Court what the reaction of some European countries would be if a judge in the Congo had accused their leaders of crimes purportedly committed in Africa by them or on their ordersFN2.

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FN2 CR 2001/6, p. 28 (Ms Chemillier-Gendreau) ; CR 2001/9. pp. 12-13 (Mr. Eric David).
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9. An even more pertinent scenario could serve as counterpoint to the present case. There are many judges in the southern hemisphere, no less qualified than Mr. Vandermeersch, and, like him, imbued with good faith and a deep attachment to human rights and peoples' rights, who would not hesitate for one instant to launch criminal proceedings against various leaders in the northern hemisphere in relation to recent military episodes, all of which have occurred north of the equator. Their knowledge of the facts is no less complete, or less impartial, than the knowledge which the court in Brussels thinks it possesses about events in Kinshasa. Why do these judges show restraint? Because they are aware that international law does not permit the assertion of criminal jurisdiction in such circumstances. Because they know that their national Governments, in light of this legal reality, would never support such action at international level. If the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction does not presuppose that the accused be present on the territory of the forum State, co-ordination becomes totally impossible, leading to the collapse of the international system of co-operation for the prosecution of crimeFN3. It is important that the domestic treatment of issues of this kind, and hence the conduct of the authorities of each State, should accord with the notion of a decentralized international community, founded on the principle of the equality of its members and necessarily requiring the [p 94] co-ordination of their efforts. Any policy adopted in the name of human rights but not in keeping with that discipline threatens to harm rather than serve that cause.

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FN3 As regards the current status of the principle of universe 1 jurisdiction, note that the States which negotiated the Rome Treaty avoided extending this principle to the jurisdiction of the future International Criminal Court.
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10. In my view, if the Court had first considérée the question of jurisdiction, it would have been relieved of any need to rule on the question of immunity. I do in any event adhere to the conclusions of the majority of my colleagues on this point. I find that under the facts and circumstances of the present case the Belgian domestic court lacks jurisdiction to conduct criminal proceedings, in the absence of any basis of jurisdiction other than the principle of universal jurisdiction and failing, in support of that principle, the presence on Belgian territory of the accused, whom it would be unlawful to force to appear. But I believe that, even on the assumption that the Belgian judicial authorities did have jurisdiction, the immunity enjoyed by the Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs would have barred both the initiation of criminal proceedings and the circulation of the international arrest warrant by the judge, with support from the Belgian Government.

(Signed; Francisco Rezek. [p 95]


DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE AL-KHASAWNEH

1. As a general proposition it may be said without too much fear of contradiction that the effective conduct of diplomacy — the importance of which for the maintenance of peaceful relations among States needs hardly to be demonstrated — requires that those engaged in such conduct be given appropriate immunities from — inter alia — criminal proceedings before the courts of other States. The nature and extent of such immunities has been clarified in the case of diplomatic representatives in the 1961 Vienna Convention, as well as in extensive jurisprudence since the adoption of that Convention. By contrast, and this is not without irony, the nature and extent of immunities enjoyed by Foreign Ministers is far from clear, so much so that the ILC Special Rapporteur on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property expressed the opinion that the immunities of Foreign Ministers are granted on the basis of comity rather than on the basis of established rules of international law. To be sure the Convention on Special Missions — the status of which as a reflection of customary law is however not without controversy — covers the immunities of Foreign Ministers who are on official mission, but reserves the extent of those immunities under the unhelpful formula:

"The Head of the Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other persons of high rank, when they take part in a special mission of the sending State, shall enjoy in the receiving State or in a third State, in addition to what is granted by the present Conven-tion, the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded by international law." (Art. 21, para. 2.) [p 96]

Nor is the situation made any clearer by the total absence of precedents with regard to the immunities of Foreign Ministers from criminal process. What is sure however is that the position of Foreign Ministers cannot be assimilated to diplomatic representatives for in the case of the latter the host State has a discretion regarding their accreditation and can also declare a representative persona non grata, which in itself constitutes some sanction for wrongful conduct and more importantly opens the way — assuming good faith of course — for subsequent prosecution in his/her home State. A Minister for Foreign Affairs accused of criminal conduct — and for that matter criminal conduct that infringes the interests of the community of States as a whole in terms of the gravity of the crimes he is alleged to have committed, and the importance of the interests that the community seeks to protect and who is furthermore not prosecuted in his home State — is hardly under the same conditions as a diplomatic representative granted immunity from criminal process.

2. If the immunities of a Minister for Foreign Affairs cannot be assimilated to a diplomatic representative, can those immunities be established by assimilating him to a Head of a State? Whilst a Foreign Minister is undoubtedly an important personage of the State and represents it in the conduct of its foreign relations, he does not, in any sense, personify the State. As Sir Arthur Watts correctly puts it:

"heads of governments and foreign ministers, although senior and important figures, do not symbolize or personify their States in the way that Heads of States do. Accordingly, they do not enjoy in international law any entitlement to special treatment by virtue of qualities of sovereignty or majesty attaching to them personally." (A. Watts, "The Legal Position in International Law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1994, Vol. 247, pp. 102-103).

3. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that immunity is by definition an exception from the general rule that man is responsible legally and morally for his actions. As an exception, it has to be narrowly defined.

4. A Minister for Foreign Affairs is entitled to immunity from enforcement when on official mission for the unhindered conduct of diplomacy would suffer if the case was otherwise, but the opening of criminal investigations against him can hardly be said by any objective criteria to con-stitute interference with the conduct of diplomacy. A faint-hearted or ultra-sensitive Minister may restrict his private travels or feel discomfort but this is a subjective element that must be discarded. The warrant [p 97] issued against Mr. Yerodia goes further than a mere opening of investigation and may arguably be seen as an enforcement measure but it contained express language to the effect that it was not to be enforced if Mr. Yerodia was on Belgian territory on an official mission. In fact press reports — not cited in the Memorials or the oral pleadings — suggest that he had paid a visit to Belgium after the issuance of the warrant and no steps were taken to enforce it. Significantly also the circulation of the international arrest warrant was not accompanied by a Red Notice requiring third States to take steps to enforce it (which only took place after Mr. Yerodia had left office) and had those States acted they would be doing so at their own risk. A breach of an obligation presupposes the existence of an obligation and in the absence of any evidence to suggest a Foreign Minister is entitled to absolute immunity, I cannot see why the Kingdom of Belgium, when we have regard to the terms of the warrant and the lack of an Interpol Red Notice was in breach of its obligations owed to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

5. A more fundamental question is whether high State officials are entitled to benefit from immunity even when they are accused of having committed exceptionally grave crimes recognized as such by the international community. In other words, should immunity become de facto impunity for criminal conduct as long as it was in pursuance of State policy? The Judgment sought to circumvent this morally embarrassing issue by recourse to an existing but artificially drawn distinction between immunity as a substantive defence on the one hand and immunity as a procedural defence on the other. The artificiality of this distinction can be gleaned from the ILC commentary to Article 7 of the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, which states: "The absence of any procedural immunity with respect to prosecution or punishment in appropriate judicial proceedings" — and it should not be forgotten that the draft was intended to apply to national or international courts — "is an essential corollary of the absence of any substantive immunity or defence. It would be paradoxical to prevent an individual from invoking his official position to avoid responsibility for a crime only to permit him to invoke this same consideration to avoid the consequences of this responsibility."

6. Having drawn this distinction, the Judgment then went on to postulate four cases where, in an attempt at proving that immunity and impunity are not synonymous, a Minister, and by analogy a high-ranking official, would be held personally accountable:

(a) for prosecution in his/her home State;

(b) for prosecution in other States if his/her immunity had been waived; [p 98]

(c) after he/she leaves office except for official acts committed while in office;

(d) for prosecution before an international court.

This paragraph (Judgment, para. 61) is more notable for the things it does not say than for the things it does: as far as prosecution at home and waiver are concerned, clearly the problem arises when they do not take place. With regard to former high-ranking officials the question of impunity remains with regard to official acts, the fact that most grave crimes are definitionally State acts makes this more than a theoretical lacuna. Lastly with regard to existing international courts their jurisdiction ratione materiae is limited to the two cases of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the future international court's jurisdiction is limited ratione temporis by non-retroactivity as well as by the fact that primary responsibility for prosecution remains with States. The Judgment cannot dispose of the problem of impunity by referral to a prospective interna-tional criminal court or existing ones.

7. The effective combating of grave crimes has arguably assumed a jus cogens character reflecting recognition by the international community of the vital community interests and values it seeks to protect and enhance. Therefore when this hierarchically higher norm comes into conflict with the rules on immunity, it should prevail. Even if we are to speak in terms of reconciliation of the two sets of rules, this would suggest to me a much more restrictive interpretation of the immunities of high-ranking officials than the Judgment portrays. Incidentally, such a restrictive approach would be much more in consonance with the now firmly established move towards a restrictive concept of State immunity, a move that has removed the bar regarding the submission of States to jurisdiction of other States often expressed in the maxim par in parem non habet imperium. It is difficult to see why States would accept that their conduct with regard to important areas of their development be open to foreign judicial proceedings but not the criminal conduct of their officials.

8. In conclusion, this Judgment is predicated on two faulty premises:

(a) that a Foreign Minister enjoys absolute immunity from both jurisdiction and enforcement of foreign States as opposed to only functional immunity from enforcement when on official mission, a proposition which is neither supported by precedent, opinio juris, legal logic or the writings of publicists;

(b) that as international law stands today, there are no exceptions to the immunity of high-ranking State officials even when they are accused of grave crimes. While, admittedly, the readiness of States and municipal courts to admit of exceptions is still at a very nebulous stage of development, the situation is much more fluid than the [p 99] Judgment suggests. I believe that the move towards greater personal accountability represents a higher norm than the rules on immunity and should prevail over the latter. In consequence, I am unable to join the majority view.

(Signed) Awn Al-Khasawneh. [p 100]


SEPARATE OPINION OF JUDGE BULA-BULA

[Translation ]

1. Given that the landmark Judgment of 14 February 2002 declares the law and settles the dispute between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereinafter "the Congo") and the Kingdom of Belgium (hereinafter "Belgium"); that this judicial decision is without precedent in the field and codifies and develops contemporary international law; and that the Court has thus imposed the force of law upon the law of force within the "international community" which it has been at pains to establish over the years: I fully and unreservedly support the entire operative part of the Judgment.

2. I would nonetheless like to emphasize here other grounds of fact and law which seem to me to supplement and strengthen this collective decision. My opinion is also justified by the particular duty incumbent upon me in my capacity as judge ad hoc. An "opinion" does not necessarily obey rigid rules. Doubtless it must not address questions which bear no relation to any part of the Judgment. Subject to this, the traditional practice would seem to be characterized by its freedom. Not only does the length of opinions sometimes exceed that of the Judgment itselfFN1, but also [p 101] they can be written with a variety of aims in viewFN2. Thus it is open to me, without carrying matters to excess, to develop my argument to a reasonable extent. On the one hand, it seems to me that Tie summary version of the facts presented by the opposing Parties reveals only the visible face of the iceberg. It permits a superficial reading of a case forming part of a far wider dispute. On the other, it was in part the immediate circumstances as thus presented to it which led the Court not to examine in depth the fundamental issue of the independence of the Congo, Belgium's former and sole colony, vis-à-vis the latter. The reference to sovereign equality, successively belaboured both at the provisional measures phase and then at the merits stage by two of Congo's counsel, both members of the Government, is a call to examine the matter in depth. It is repeated in the final submissions. And it surely underlies the choice of judges ad hoc, first by the Respondent, then by the Applicant!

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FN1 Compare the Judgment of 5 February 1970 in the case concerning the Barcelona Traction,Light and Power Company, Limited (49 pages) with the opinions of Judges Ammoun (48 pages). Tanaka (47 pages), Fitzmaurice (50 pages) and Jessup (61 pages); the Advisory Opinion of 21 June 1971 in the South West Africa case (43 pages) with the opinion of Judge Fitzmaurice (103 pages); the Judgment of 27 June 1986 in the case concerning Military und Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) (137 pages). with the opinion of Judge Schwebel (269 pages); the Judgment of 16 June 1992 in the case concerning Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia) (30 pages) with the opinion of Judge Shahabuddeen (31 pages); the Judgment of 3 June 1993 in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Area between Greenland and Jan Mayen (Denmark v. Norway) (41 pages) with the opinion of Judge Shahabuddeen (81 pages): the Judgment of 24 February 1982 in the case concerning the Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)( 77 pages) with the opinion of Judge Oda ( 21 pages); the Judgment of 12 December 1996 in the case concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. UnitedStates of America) (19 pages) with the opinion of Judge Shahabuddeen (20 pages).
FN2 See on this point, Charles Rousseau. Droit international public. Vol. V. "Les rapports conflictuels", 1983, p. 463.
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3. In doctrine, judges ad hoc have the particular duty of contributing to an objective and impartial establishment of the facts and of presenting the conception of the law held by each party to the disputeFN3. In Judge Lauterpacht's view, an ad hoc judge has an obligation to

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FN3Nguyen Quoc Dinh, Patrick Daillier and Alain Pellet, Droit international public, 1999, p. 855. para. 541 : E:. McWhinney. Les Nations Unies et la formation du droit. 1986,
p. 150.
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"endeavour to ensure that, so far as is reasonable, every relevant argument in favour of the party that has appointed him has been fully appreciated in the course of collegial consideration and, ultimately, is reflected — though not necessarily accepted — in any separate or dissenting opinion that he may write"FN4.

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FN4Judge Lauterpacht, separate opinion appended to the Order of 17 December 1997 in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention und Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Yugoslavia). I.C.J. Reports 1997, p. 278.
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4. Fulfilment of such an obligation does not in any sense assimilate a judge ad hoc to a representative of a StateFN5. Further, his is in no sense a national representation but a "national presence"'FN6, which is, moreover, a permanent one for the permanent members of the Security Council. J. G. Merrills takes the view that the institution of judge ad hoc "provides an important link between the parties and the Court". In these circumstances, "the institution of the ad hoc judge reflecting, as it does, 'the incidence of metajuridical considerations in the functioning of international adjudication' is perhaps still too useful to be dispensed with"FN7.

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FN5 See the communication of E. Lauterpacht, "The Role of ad hoc Judges", in Increasing the Effectiveness of the International Court of Justice. 1997. p. 374.
FN6 See the commentary of Krzystof Skubiszewski, ibid.. p. .378.
FN7 J. G. Merrills. International Dispute Settlement ,3 rd ed.. 1998. p. 139.
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5. Naturally I am in agreement, in my capacity as judge ad hoc, with [p 102] "at least the basic stance of the appointing State (jurisdiction, admissibility, fundamentals of the merits)"FN8. Otherwise, how could I have accepted the proposed appointment? My consent of course means that "there is a certain understanding ... for the case that has been put in front of him"FN9. Moreover, it seemed to me helpful, as judge ad hoc, to give an opinion in both of the phases undergone by this caseFN10, thus, in my view, making the reasoning more readily understandable.

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FN8See the commentary of Krzystof Skubiszewski, Increasing
FN9 See the contribution of Hugh W. A. Thirlway, ibid., p. 393.
FN10 According to A. Pellet, ibid., "judges ad hoc are very appreciated if they express their opinions during the various phases of the case", p. 395.
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6. Covering a great deal of ground, and out of regard for the Court and its working methods, I will confine myself to recalling very concisely, from Belgian, Congolese, transnational and international sources, certain factual data, of both indirect and direct relevance, which make up the background to the case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000. Through these brief references, I seek both to exorcize the past and to foster between the Applicant and the Respondent, States intimately linked by history, effective implementation of the principle of sovereign equality between States.

7. Addressing the Congolese people at Kinshasa on 30 June 1991, forty-first anniversary of the country's independence, the Belgian Prime Minister declared:

"You are an important part of our past. Special, particularly strong links unite our two countries. Links based on a relationship marked by pain, by promise, by prudence . . What unites us — you know it, we know it — is reflected in the external mirror constituted by our good or our bad conscience, the boundary between good and evil, between good intentions and blunders ... I wish to say to the Congolese people, wheresoever they may be on this vast territory, that we are aware of their pain and of the suffering they have endured."

Rarely have such views been publicly expressed by the head of the government of a former colonial power four decades after decolonization. Wrongly or rightly, it is perhaps in the circumstances of a very particular act of decolonization, whose consequences are still with us today, including in the present case, that the justification for these views is to be sought.

8. Rereading the account of the decolonization of the CongoFN11 [p 103] prepared by one of the 40 or so political reconciliation conferencesFN12, we learn the following:

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FN11 The tragic events which marked the decolonization of the Congo led the United Nations to involve the Court. See S. Rosenne, "La Cour nternationale de Justice en 1961", Revue générale de droit international public, 3rd series. Vol. XXXIII, October-December 1962, No. 4. p. 703.
FN12 Known as the "Sovereign National Conference", the forum was held from November 1991 to December 1992. It was organized by the then Government, under pressure from its principal partners, including Belgium, and financed by them.
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"Following his victory in the legislative elections, Patrice Emery Lumumba, after consulting the main parties and political personalities at that time, formed a Government.

On 23 June 1960, he obtained the confidence of Parliament, even before the latter's election of Kasavubu as Head of State, thanks to the Lumumba Party's majority.

Less than a week on from 30 June 1960, on 4 July, the army and police mutinied. Following the provocative statement by General Janssens to the military — 'after independence equals before independence' — the disturbances worsened. Katanga proclaimed its secession on 11 July 1960 and South Kasai its autonomy on 8 August 1960. Territorial and military administration collapsed and financial resourced dried up. The people's sovereignty was under threat.

Despite the co-operation agreements signed between the Kingdom of Belgium and the young Republic on 29 June 1960, the crisis was aggravated by the untimely intervention of Belgian troops. Faced with this situation, on 15 July the Head of State Kasavubu, guarantor of territorial integrity, and the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Lumumba, jointly signed a telegram appealing for troops from the United Nations in New York ... as a result of Belgian diplomatic manoeuvres, the United Nations hesitated to intervene . . ."FN13

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FN13 Sovereign National Conference, Report of the Commission on Murders and Viola-tions of Human Rights, pp. 18-19.
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9. Rightly or wrongly, the report also cites Belgium for its responsibility in the removal from office of Prime Minister Lumumba:

"After our country had achieved independence . . . President Kasavubu and Prime Minister Lumumba worked harmoniously together. They had even toured Elisabethville together. I believe that the Belgians were against this harmony. So they provoked this divisive tension ... I telephoned Lumumba to tell him about it. He then contacted President Kasavubu. I thought they had taken precautions against those manœuvres. I was surprised to hear on the radio around 5 September 1960 of the dismissal of Lumumba and on the same day of that of Kasavubu by Lumumba."FN14

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FN14 Ibid., statement of Mr. Cleophas Kamitatu, then Provincial President of Leopoldville (Kinshasa).
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10. According to the report: "The Belgian ambassador in Leopoldville [p 104] was behind the creation of the autonomous State of South Kasai. By 8 August 1960, it was a fait accompli."FN15. In regard to the murder of Prime Minister Lumumba and his companions, the report inter alia states: "On 16 January 1961 there was a meeting it Ndjili airport. Those present included Messrs. Nendaka, Damien Kandolo, Ferdinand Kazadi, Lahaye and the Sabena representatives." A witness, Mr. Gabriel Kitenge, stated the following:

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FN15 Op cit. footnote 13 supra, p. 26.
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"When the aircraft arrived, he recognized only one of the three packages, Mr. Lumumba, who was covered in bruises and trying to cling to a wall. All three were unloaded alive at Elisabethville. Soon afterwards they were taken to the villa Brouwez a few kilometres from the airport, where they had a talk with Messrs. Godefroid Munongo and Jean-Baptiste Kibwe, who were together with some white soldiers . . .

They were executed in the bush a kilometre from the villa. Under the command of a white officer, the black soldiers shot Okito first and finished off with Lumumba.

Those present were: Messrs. Munongo, Kitenge, Sapwe, Muke, four Belgians ... On the orders of a senior Belgian police officer, the three prisoners were shot one after the other and thrown into a common grave which had already been dug." FN16

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FN16 Ibid.. p. 40.
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11. The conference report concluded with a proposal for "the opening of proceedings". It stated:

"The murders of Lumumba, Mpolo and Okito, although not falling within the categories currently defined by the United Nations, should be assimilated to crimes against humanity, for these were acts of persecution and murder for political reasons."

This proposal may thus stimulate reflection on the part of writers who note uncertainties in the notion of crime against humanityFN17. The conference established responsibility on the part of a number of persons both natural and legal, domestic and foreign. Of whom, for purposes of this case it suffices to note the following:

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FN17 See G. Abi Saab, "International Criminal Tribunals and the Development of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law". Liber Aticorum Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui, 1999, p. 651. See also E. Roucounas, "Time Limitat ons for Claims and Actions under International Law", ibid., pp. 223-240.
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"The Government of the Kingdom of Belgium as protecting power for having failed to ensure bilateral security for an independence deliberately rushed through by it in a perfunctory manner. The ambiguous nature of the Basic Law is self-evicent. Despite the agreement of 29 June 1960, Belgium did not provide the lawful authorities [p 105] established by it in the Congo with the military and technical assistance which would have enabled the worst to be avoided.
………………………………………………………………………………………………
The support of the Belgian Government for the secession of Katanga through its official recognition as an independent State, with the opening of a Consulate-General, represents an offence against the rights of the Congolese people. Following the intervention of the Belgian Minister for African Affairs, Mr. Harold Aspremont, President Tshombe, on 16 January 1961, accepted transfer of the packages."FN18

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FN18 Sovereign National Conference, Report of the Commission on Murders and Violations of Human Rights, pp. 55-56. " Ibid.
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Reacting, as it were, in advance to the respondert State, the conference decided to:

"Alert international opinion so that the very persons who teach us respect for human rights and the rights of the citizen contained in the United Nations Declaration may not in future repeat the same mistakes, which do not sit well with world ooinion."FN19

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FN19 Ibid.
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12. Six years earlier, the transnational group known as "The Permanent Court of the Peoples [tribunal permanent des peuples]", called upon to deliver a ruling on the case of Zaire (Congo) stated:

"When the right of a people freely to pursue its economic, social and cultural development is treated with contempt by a State represented by collaborationist oligarchies, hostages or agents of foreign powers, installed or maintained in place by its will, that State cannot constitute a cover for the extinction of a people's right to self-determination."FN20

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FN20 See Judgment of Permanent Court of the Peoples, Rotterdam, 20 September 1982,p. 29.
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Thus that "court" held:

"In such a case, we are faced with a phenomenon essentially similar to the colonial situation opposing an enslaved people to a foreign power, with the government authorities playing the role of overseer, seemingly differing little in their functions from the former colonial agents (viceroys, governors, préfets, etc.) or local satraps in the service of the métropole."FN21

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FN21 Ibid.
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The jury further stated:

"The violation of the right of the Zairian people perpetrated by an alienated State raises the problem of the responsibility of other [p 106] governments, and in particular of those who defend the interests for whose benefit the Zairian people are deprived of their sovereignty."FN22

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FN22 Op. cit. footnote 20 supra, p. 30.
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The jury thus established, inter alia, "the responsibility ... of Belgium"FN23. The operative part of the judgment finds that a number of the charges "constitute crimes against the Zairian people"FN24. Examining inter alia the legal force of the decisions of this "coirt of public opinion", some writers have concluded that "such a condemnation is a first step towards reparation"FN25.

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FN23 Ibid., p. 32.
FN24 Ibid., p. 34
FN25 B. H. Weston. R. A. Falk and A. d'Amato, International Law and World Order, 2nd ed.. p. 1286.
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13. More recently, the United Nations Commission responsible for investigating the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Congo cited, among others, Belgian companies in occupied territories. Could it not be that the purported "neutrality" of the local Belgian authorities in the face of the armed aggressionFN26 suffered by the Congo since 2 August 1998 is being undermined by the participation of private groups or Belgian parastatal entities in the looting of the natural resources of the Congo, as established by a United Nations investigationFN27? All the more so in that the investigation has established a lirk between that illegal exploitation and the continuation of the warFN28.

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FN26 Within the meaning of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, as further defined by Article 3 of resolution 3314 of 14 December 1974 and confirmed as a rule of customary law by the Judgment of the Court of 27 June 1986 in Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), para. 195.
FN27 See Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those cited include the following Belgian companies: Cogem, Muka-Enterprise and Transintra for cassiterite; Chimie Pharmacie, Cogea, Tradement, Finiming Ltd., Cicle International, SpecialtyMetal, for coltan; Soger, Sogem, Cogecom, Tradement, MDW, for cassiterite and coltan.Source: http ://www.un.org/News/dh/latest/drcongo.htm.
FN28 See ibid., paras. 109 et seq. "Links between the exploitat on of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict."
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14. The immediate circumstances which gave rise to the issue of the warrant were amply debated by the Parties. It would be pointless to go over them again. Nonetheless, there are pertinent questions raised by this case. Why is it that virtually all of those charged before the Belgian courts, including Mr. Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, belong essentially to a political tendency that was ousted in 1960 and, thanks to a variety of circumstances, regained power in 1997? Why does the respondent State not exercise its territorial jurisdiction by prosecuting Belgian companies established on its territory suspected of illegal activities in areas of foreign occupation within the Congo?

15. These are some of the facts emerging from a rapid survey covering more than four decades whereby the respective conducts of the Parties to the dispute before us may be judged. They should be compared with Bel-[p 107]gium's closing speech. Even as the respondent State brings its peroration to a glowing close with an invocation of the democracy and human rights which purportedly guided its conductFN29, at the same time it reopens one of the most shameful pages in the history of decolonization. In the 1960s, it appeared to grant the Congo its independence while, with the right hand, it was at the same time virtually ensuring the destabilization of that sovereignty and of the new-born Congolese democracy. The author Joseph Ki-Zerbo was able to write that, in the Congo, "independence was thrown like a bone to the natives in order the better to exploit their divisions, . . . the model for poisoned grants of independence"FN30.

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FN29 See Belgium's oral argument, CR 2001/11, pp. 17-18, paras. 8, 9 and 11.
FN30 Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Preface to Ahamadou A. Dicko's Journal d'une défaite. Autour duréférendum du 28 Septembre 1958 en Afrique noire, 1992, p. X1V.
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16. One of the points hotly debated by the Parties is Mr. Ndombasi's current loss of any governmental post. The Respondent relied on this fact in order to secure dismissal of the case by the Court, while the Applicant contended that it has no effect on the proceedings.

17. In my view, the argument deriving from the loss (and not the absence) of any current governmental function on Mr. Ndombasi's part is morally indecent. But the Court does not decide disputes on the basis of international morality, so dear to Nicolas PolitsFN31. Legally, however, this argument should rebound against the Respondent, who has raised a mere corner of the veil over the cause of this situation, while exploiting its effects — and only those effects — to the full. It is juridically improper to seek to ground one's principal argument on a serious violation of international law (exercise of a right of censorship over the composition of the Congolese Government amounts to interference in the internal affairs of another State), which aggravates the original infringement of the criminal immunities and inviolability of the person of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Applicant's written pleadings and oral arguments (during both the "provisional" and the merits phase) denounced this fact and were not effectively rebutted by the Respondent. The Court was witness to this dismissal of a representative of the Congolese State, which occurred not only after the matter had been referred to the Court (17 October 2000), but, what is more, the demotion took place the day the hearings opened in the provisional phase (20 November 2000), and Mr. Ndombasi left the Government altogether not long afterwards (14 April 2001). Since that time his reappointment, although constantly announced in the press, has been resisted, apparently because of unlawful pressure exerted by the Respondent.

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FN31 Nicolas Politis, La morale internationale, 1943, p. 179.
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18. It is the duty of the Court, as guarantor of the integrity of international lawFN32, to sanction this doubly unlawful conduct on the part of the Respondent, denounced by the Applicant in its final submissions.

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FN32 Corfu Channel. I.C.J. Reports 1949. p. 35.
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[p 108]

19. There are two possible ways in which the notion of "organ responsible for the integrity of international law" is generally understood. For some, it involves a "duty to preserve the integrity cf law as a discipline — distinct from considerations of politics, morality, expediency and so on"FN33. In my view, it ought also to mean that the Court is under an obligation to ensure respect for international law in its totality. As regards the specific nature of the task of a judicial organ by comparison with that of a political organ, such as the Security Council, there is already plentiful case law on this point.

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FN33 See H. Mendelson, "Formation of International Law and the Observational Standpoint", in connection with "The Formation of Rules of Customary (General) International Law", International Law Association, Report of the Sixty-Third Conference, Warsaw, August 21st to August 27th 1988, p. 944.
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20. I also share Manfred Lachs's view that "the Court is the guardian of legality for the international community as a whole"FN34.

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FN34 See M. Lachs, separate opinion appended to the Order of 14 April 1992 in the case concerning Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie ( Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom), I.C.J. Reports 1992. p. 26.
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21. It is difficult to see how the Court can focus its gaze so particularly on Mr. Ndombasi's current loss of government office while closing its eyes to the obvious reasons for that situation in the light of events which have been sufficiently argued before it right from the start of the provisional measures phase up to the closing of the merits phase. This is particularly so in that the violation of the immunities in question is simply evidence of a general disregard for the principle of sovereign equality of a State decolonized by Belgium. On this point the Court made no mis-take. More than once in its reasoning, in the politest of terms, it criticized the Respondent's unlawful conduct.

22. Quite aside from the attention devoted by the Court to the argument concerning the loss of official duties, made so much of by the author of fundamentally unlawful conduct, there is the matter of the non-existent legal effect which the Respondent seeks to infer from Mr. Ndombasi's new situation. From the moment the immunities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs were breached, the violation of international law was complete. And the Congo began to insist — and continued to do so until the close of argument — that the Court should find that its rights have been violated, and that it be granted repartition accordingly. The Congo has never believed, and has never asserted, that one of its citizens has been the victim of a Belgian wrongful act. The Applicant has always been convinced, and has always declared, that Belgium was acting against it as a sovereign entity wishing to organize itself freely, including in the conduct of its foreign relations by a Minister of its choosing. But it has suffered, and continues to suffer, de facto interference resulting from the issue, maintenance and circulation of the warrant, and from Belgium's attempts to give greater effect to that warrant. [p 109]

23. The relevance of Mr. Ndombasi's loss of governmental responsibilities lies in the glaring light it throws on Belgium's flagrant meddling in the Congo's internal affairs. Further evidence of this can be found in the identity of certain Congolese complainants, members of a Congolese opposition political partyFN35, whose names the Respondent obstinately refused to reveal to the Court for so-called "security" reasons. Whichever way you look at it, this case clearly demonstrates t re Respondent's interference in the Applicant's internal affairs. And, ultimately, the serious disregard for the sovereign equality of States underlying the violation of the immunities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The loss of government office is of no relevance in relation to Mr. Ndombasi's personal odyssey; he, strangely, unlike other accused Conge lese high officials, and other foreign authorities, had this unprecedented warrant issued against him as Minister for Foreign Affairs, charged with maintaining permanent contact with the Congo's principal foreign partner.

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FN35 According to the Applicant, these are representatives of an opposition party operating in Brussels! (See verbatim record of the public hearing of 22 November 2000, CR 2000/34, p. 20.) The Respondent, on the other hand, cites "security reasons" to the Court (despite the fact that the Court can sit in closed session) in order not to disclose the identity of the complainants of Congolese nationality (see verbatim record of the public hearing of 21 November 2000, CR 2000/33, p. 23).
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24. So long as there shall exist the authentic, independent State of the Congo, born of decolonization — not to be confused with the fictional State entity calling itself "The Congo Free State", borne to the baptismal font by the powers at BerlinFN36 — that debt will continue to exist. This is not a debt due to one specific incumbent Government — a Government bound, moreover, to pass on one day like every Government. What is at stake here is a debt owed to the Congolese people, freely organized in a sovereign State calling for its dignity to be respected.

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FN36 The 14 colonial powers meeting at Berlin (14 November 1884-26 February 1885) accorded their endorsement to the colonial project of King Leopold II called "Congo Free State".
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25. But dignity has no price. It is one of those intangible assets, on which it is impossible to put a price in money terms. When a person, whether legal or natural, gives up his dignity, he bses the essence of his natural or legal personality. The dignity of the Congolese people, victim of the neocolonial chaos imposed upon it on the morrow of decolonization, of which the current tragic events largely represent the continued expression, is a dignity of this kind.

26. The loss of office by one of its authorities could not put an end to the unlawfulness of the Belgian warrant, any more than it could transform it into a lawful act. To appreciate that the unlawfulness cannot be extinguished as a result of Mr. A. Yerodia Ndombasi's loss of govern-ment office, I give two examples. When a representative of a foreign State [p 110] is killed by the police in a particular countryFN37, that diplomat ceases by the very fact of his death to hold office. Can it be claimed that the unlawfulness of the act was extinguished by the death of the representative of the foreign State? It seems to me that the unlawfulness persists. Let us take another case. Suppose the diplomat was merely seriously wounded. After being evacuated to his sending country, he is declared unfit for diplomatic service. Can it be said that the unlawful act has disappeared, since the victim of the assault no longer represents his country abroad? I think not.

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FN37 This happened in Lomé (Togo) in October/November 19Ç-5, where a German diplomat was killed by policemen at a roadblock in the early evening. The incident caused a serious deterioration in relations between Germany and Togo.
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27. The question of the lack of object of the Congolese claim could have arisen if Belgium had adopted a diametrically opposite attitude, by showing respect for the Congo's independence. It should have admitted its violation of international law and then cancelled the warrant and hastened to request the foreign countries to which it had circulated the instrument to discharge it. It would then have informed the Congo of these various measures, which would have been tarn amount to an expression of regret and an apology. Nothing of the sort occurred. The Congo's claim thus retained its object in full.

28. The Congo admits that "these requests differ to some extent from those formulated in its Application instituting proceedings", given Mr. Ndombasi's new situation. But it adds that, "since they are based on the same facts as those referred to in the Application, this cannot pose any problem"FN38. The Court has correctly confirmed its established practice of according the Parties the freedom to refine their claim between the date of filing of the Application instituting proceedings and the presentation of the final submissions at the close of oral argument. Thus there is no basis for criticism here, since these subsequent changes are based on the same facts as those already cited in the initial claim.

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FN38 Memorial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, p. 6 para. 8.
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29. Moreover, in accordance with the Court's settled jurisprudence, the admissibility of the Congo's Application is to be assessed on "the only relevant date", which is the date of its filing in the Registry of the CourtFN39. It is irrelevant whether the Respondent might subsequently have acted so as to empty the Application of its substance. The claim was already filed as such on 17 October 2000. Furthermore, as its substance is based on the violation of the Congo's sovereignty by the issue of the warrant, which requires reparation, that substance remains intact.

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FN39 See the case concerning Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America ), I.C.J. Reports 1998. p. 130, para. 43.
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30. The Respondent's attempt to transform the international judicial [p 111] proceedings instituted and pursued by the Congo in its own right, following the violation of the criminal immunities and inviolability of one of its highest representatives, into the mere exercise of diplomatic protection of one of its nationals deserves a polite dismissal calling for no further comment on my part.

31. Did the Congo's final submissions preclude the Court from ruling on the question of so-called universal jurisdiction'.

32. It is true that the Congo's "final submissions" make no mention whatever of this question. They seek to have the Court enforce the "rule of international customary law concerning the absolute inviolability and immunity from criminal process of incumbent foreign ministers; in so doing [the Respondent] violated the principle of sovereign equality among States"FN40.

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FN40 See CR 2001/10, p. 26; emphasis added.
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33. The issue here is one of judicial procedure. Did the Applicant's spectacular change of position on this point require the Court not to rule on so-called universal jurisdiction in the operative part of its Judgment? Most definitely. It would have been criticized for ruling ultra petita. That is not the same as taking no collective position on the point. In any event, in so far as the Judgment's reasoning failed to address this question, the opinions would do so.

34. Moreover, of the 64 pages of the Congo's Memorial, 15 are devoted to this questionFN41. At the oral proceedings, the Congo stated, through its counsel, Professor Rigaux, that "tha: [was] an area of no interest to [it]", even though it had raised it in its original ApplicationFN42. But, battle-weary, or for reasons of litigation strategy, it allowed that the Court might examine the

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FN41 Memorial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, pp. 47-61.
FN42 See CR 2001/10, p. 11.
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"issues of international law raised by universal jurisdiction, but it will not do so at the request of the Applicant: it will, in a sense, have the issue forced upon it as a result of the defence strategy adopted by the Respondent, since the Respondent appears to contend not only that it is lawful to exercise such jurisdiction but that it is moreover obligatory to do so, and therefore that the exercise of such jurisdiction can represent a valid counterweight to the observance of immunities".
And counsel concludes:

"I accordingly believe that the Court will in any event be obliged to adjudicate on certain aspects of universal jurisdiction, but I would stress that this is not at the request of the Applicant, which is not directly interested in the issue."FN43

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FN43 Ibid.; emphasis added.
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[p 112]
And Counsel then refers to its forthcoming submissions. For her part, Professor Chemillier-Gendreau, another of the Congo's counsel, stated that:

"the extension of such jurisdiction to a case where the person concerned is not within the territory has at present no confirmed legal basis, which is very different from saying, as Professor David would have us say, that we no longer challenge universal jurisdiction in absentia".

Congo's counsel continued:

"In the light of this case, Belgium would like the Court, by finding in favour of a universal jurisdiction which possesses those broader bounds, to intervene in the lawmaking process and thereby endorse the validity of its policy."

She concluded:

"For our part, we contend that the point to which the Court should confine its ruling in regard to universal jurisdiction is, as Professor Rigaux has just said, its use where it infringes an immunity from jurisdiction of an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs. And we then request the Court to declare that its use in these circumstances, as embodied in Belgium's action, is contrary to international law." FN44

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FN44 See CR 2001/10, p. 17; emphasis added.
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35. For its part, Belgium basically founded its defence strategy on so-called universal jurisdiction, upon which its controversial statute and disputed warrant are purportedly based. But, since the Congo ignored the issue of such purported jurisdiction in its final submissions, Belgium accordingly argued that the Court's jurisdiction was thus limited, pursuant to the non ultra petita rule, solely to those points in dispute appearing in the final submissions. The Respondent cited the Court's jurisprudenceFN45: "It is the duty of the Court not only to reply to the questions as stated in the final submissions of the parties, but also to abstain from deciding points not included in those submissions.''FN46

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FN45 Case concerning Corfu Channel, Assessment of Amount of Compensation, Judgment, I. C.J. Reports 1949. p. 249: case concerning Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 20 November 1950 in the Asylum Case, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1950, p. 402.
FN46 Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 20 November 1950 in the Asylum Case. Judgment, IC.J. Reports 1950, p. 402; Counter-Memoria of Belgium, paras. 0.25, 2.74, 2.79, 2.81. 10.2.
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36. In its oral argument, the Respondent also stated that it was

"reluctant, not because it has doubts as to the legality of its position or the soundness of its arguments, but rather it would have preferred the accusations against Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi to be dealt with by [p 113] the competent authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"FN47

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FN47 CR 2001/8, p. 8.
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It also asserted that "the principles of universal jurisdiction and the absence of immunity in the case of allegations of serious breaches of international humanitarian law are well-founded in the law . . ."FN48.

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FN48 CR 2001/8, p. 31, para. 54.
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37. In my view, this is a major point of dispute between the Parties which the Court could decide were it not for the non ultra petita rule. On pain of acting ultra vires, the Court could not rule ultra petita. It has been correctly said that "while the Court is judge of its jurisdiction, it is not its master"FN49. The examination of points not included in the Congo's submissions would have exposed the Court to criticism on this score. In its final submissions, which were silent on the point, the Congo did not, however, show itself hostile to the Court's taking a stance on the point in its reasoning.

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FN49 Charles Rousseau, "Les rapports conflictuels". Droit international public. Vol. V. 1983, p. 326.
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38. For its part, Belgium did not wish the Court to rule on the substance of its claims as above, which it did, however, consider established in law:

"In the realm of law as process, the question is, if it ultimately turns on the discretion of the Court, whether it would be desirable for the Court to proceed to a judgment on the merits of this case. Belgium, with the very greatest of respect for the role of the Court in developing international law, contends that it would not. In Belgium's contention, in the absence of a compelling reason to do so — and a compelling reason to do so would be a subsisting concrete dispute between two States which requires resolution — for the Court to proceed to a judgment on the merits of these issues would risk rigidity in the law just at the point at which States, principally responsible for the development of the law, are groping towards solutions of their own. In Belgium's contention, this is not the point at which rigidity in the law, whether expansive or restrictive, is desirable."FN50

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FN50 CR 2001/8, p. 31, para. 54; emphasis added.
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39. It goes without saying that it is not for a litigant to tell the Court how to do its job. The Respondent's concern regarding the rigidifying effects of an international judicial decision are unfounded. Particularly in international customary law, it is established that international jurisprudence does not have the effect of freezing the law for all time. To a certain extent, the same is true of treaty law, which is itself developed by States. Finally, to say that States have the prime responsibility for developing the law is to recognize implicitly the responsibility of other organs [p 114] or entities, including the Court, for performing other tasks. Legal scholars are virtually unanimous in acknowledging this.

*
40. In short, how should so-called universal jurisdiction have been treated, given the discretion shown in the Congo's final submissions on this subject and the lack of urgency demonstrated by Belgium for a ruling by the Court on the matter? The Congo's extreme caution was not justified, since it was seeking to have the dispute completely resolved. The resistance on Belgium's part was unfounded too. The Respondent, which was claiming to act under international law, had the opportunity to secure a positive sanction for a practice which it considered lawful. In my view, the Court's primary responsibility was to decide whether or not, as the Applicant claimed, the customary rules concerning the personal immunities and inviolability from criminal process of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo, Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi, had been violated by the Respondent. And since it was in the name of a so-ct lied universal jurisdiction, in my opinion ill-conceived and misapplied, that this infringement took place, the operative part of the Judgment nonetheless implicitly condemns Belgium's claim. But ought not the Court, as guarantor of the integrity of international law, to have ruled in its reasoning equally clearly on the validity ratione loci and ratione personae of such manifestly unlawful claims on Belgium's part? Should the reasoning of the Judgment not have contained a relevant passage on one of the currently most controversial questions in international law? Would the Court have been criticized for stating the law on this point? The fact remains, however, that the Court, in accord with the Parties, made its choice of "essential reasons"FN51 in order to settle the dispute. It has taken the opportunity to codify and develop the law of immunities. The vexed question of so-called universal jurisdiction, as presented in this case, has also been settled.

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FN51 See Tanaka. separate opinion appended to the Judgment of 24 July 1964 in the case concerning Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited, Preliminary Objections, I.C.J. Reports 1964. p. 65.
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41. There is not the slightest doubt that in customary international law Ministers for Foreign Affairs enjoy immunities and inviolability of their person in respect of criminal process before national courts. These are restrictions imposed by international law on the operation of domestic law. To be more specific, all national law ceases to prevail in the presence of a higher organ of a foreign State. No sovereign entity can legally exercise authority over any other equally sovereign government as so represented. That is the current state of positive international law, which a worldwide survey would certainly confirm.

42. The Respondent has done its utmost to create confusion in the mind of the layman. It has been unable to do so in the minds of jurists. [p 115]

Belgium went to great lengths in seeking to equate immunity with impunity. No lawyer would be so misled as to believe that any proof was required of proposition that the personal criminal responsibility of the perpetrator of an alleged offence remains intact, notwithstanding the immunities protecting him. Nor should we lose sight of the basics of criminal law, to the point of forgetting the principle of the presumption of the accused's innocence! It might even have been thought that the issue of a Minister's immunities was a legal commonplace, had "certain recent developments"FN52 not been cited. Wrongly. Those who defend before this Court States' rights to make law are seeking to transform the proponents of a certain school of doctrine into legislators, having refused that status to the Court.

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FN52 Counter-Memorial of Belgium, p. 109. para. 3.4.1.
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43. There is no doubt that the immunities and their corollary, the inviolability of the person of the Minister in question, have a functional character. They are based on the importance of a high representative of another State being able freely to discharge his duties, without let or hindrance and under conditions of equality. It is for this reason that the prerogatives of the host State in regard, inter alia, to the maintenance of law and order, defence and justice must be exercised in such a way as to make it easier for the Minister for Foreign Affairs of another State to do his job. As certain writers have stated: "the immunity representatives of foreign States enjoy is a function of the nature of their office"FN53.

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FN53 Louis Henkin, Richard Crawford Pugh, Oscar Schachter and Hans Smit. International Law, 1993, p. 1188.
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44. American doctrine recalls that:

"According to the Restatement, immunity extended to:

(a) the State itself;
(b) its head of State;
(c) its government or any governmental agency;
(d) its head of government;
(e) its foreign minister;
(f) any other public minister, official, or agent of the State with respect to acts performed in his official capacity if the effect of exercising jurisdiction would be to enforce a rule of law against the State."FN54

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FN54 Ibid., p. 1191.
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45. Although the Congo was not able to demonstrate sufficiently, either in its written pleadings or in oral argument the extent of the hindrance caused by Belgium to the free exercise of his duties by the Congo's Minister for Foreign Affairs, I can now give some examples. Following the issue of the warrant, the Congolese Minister for Foreign Affairs was unable to attend ministerial meetings of the ACP States with the European Union in Brussels, since his criminal immunities and inviolability [p 116] were not guaranteed. Nor was he able to participate in a meeting held in Paris to evaluate the Francophone Summit. In October 2000, Mr. Ndombasi was unable to undertake an official visit to Tokyo (Japan), as the Japanese authorities stated that they were unable to give an assurance that his criminal immunities and inviolability world be guaranteed.

46. In addition to the official visits that he was unable to make, the Minister was obliged, depending on the itinerary, to travel separately from his Head of State arriving late at their common destination. This resulted in increased travel costs, lost baggage, and late arrivals at international meetings, such as the Maputo Summit following a visit to China. It is self-evident that, as a result of the official visits that he missed or carried out under such difficult circumstances, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was unable to perform his duties normally, whether alongside the Head of State or otherwise. Finally, a combination of various factors, particularly his undesirable character in the eyes of certain Belgian authorities, led to his dismissal on 20 November 2000, the date of the opening of the hearings in the provisional measures phase of his case.

47. The Respondent contends that there is an exception to the rule of the immunity and criminal inviolability of the person of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the case of "crimes under international law". It has not proved that contention. This is no more than an element of its defence strategy. At times, it sought to circumvent the official status enjoyed at the relevant time by Mr. Ndombasi by arguing that it was concerned with him solely in his capacity as a private individual; at others, it apparently attempted to invent an exception which simply does not exist in customary international law.

48. The existence of a firmly established rule, obligatorily followed by the majority of some 190 States from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania, whereby an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs enjoys absolute immunity and inviolability from criminal process is not open to question. The doctrine confirms thisFN55.

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FN55 See inter alia Jean Salmon, Manuel de droit diplomatique. 1994, p. 539: the Minister tor Foreign Affairs enjoys "privileges and immunities analogous to those of the Head of Government"; Joe Verhoeven, Droit international public. 2000, p. 123: "there is a tendency, at least in the doctrine, to grant the Head of Government and indeed the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the protection accorded to the Head of State".
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49. Nonetheless, some dissenting voices, apparently moved by certain moral concerns, claim that these appointed State representatives should be stripped of such absolute legal protection where they have committed certain international offences. In many regions of Tie world, such provisions can only be welcome in countries traditionally victims of crimes against humanity. From its inception, the Permanent Court of International Justice, our predecessor, recognized that, [p 117]

"in the fulfilment of its task of itself ascertaining what the international law is, [the Court] has not confined itself to a consideration of the arguments put forward, but has included in its researches all precedents . . . and facts to which it had access and which might pos-sibly have revealed the existence of one of the principles of international law contemplated in the special agreement"FN56.

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FN56"Lotus", Judgment No. 9, 1927, P.C.I.J.. Series A, No. 10, p. 31.
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50. It is in the area of customary law that the Belgian claims and their counterparts, the Congolese denials, lie. The Belgian Government possibly anticipated that, as with the Truman Proclamation of 1945 on the continental shelf, its new claim, formulated at a time when humanitarian ideas are undergoing a revival of interest, would be followed (massively) by other States. It gives the impression of having overestimated its importance on the world chessboard. No matter. The main charge which can be levied against the Respondent is of abusing the humanitarian argument for the purposes of political domination. As in the nineteenth cen-turyFN57! To the point of devising an exception to the rules of international law governing immunities which simply does not exist in international law.

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FN57 The Preamble to the General Act of Berlin of 26 Februaiy 1885 provides reassurance as to the object and purpose of the Treaty: "the moral and material well-being of the indigenous populations".
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51. In short, the Belgian claim was bound, from its inception, to represent violation of existing law. Despite the publicity enjoyed by the warrant of 11 April 2000, no other State has followed Belgium's example. No member of the international community has offered Belgium assistance in executing the warrant. In fact, on the contrary, several States, particularly African States, have ignored it. The unfortunate Belgian precedent has thus remained an isolated one. While Belgium is entitled to contribute to the formation of general international law, it cannot, on its own, create that law. Thus it does not have international practice behind it. By contrast, the State which is the victim of this action, the Congo, has resolutely opposed the application of the Belgian measure. On the ground that it is unlawful.

52. Moreover, the Belgian Government has shown, by its conduct, that it is unsure of the lawfulness of its disputed act. Its correspondence with the Applicant while the proceedings were in progress demonstrates thisFN58. The Respondent claims that it is contemplating an amendment to its controversial statute so as to respect the immunities of high representatives of foreign States. From all the many inconsistencies and equivocations fundamentally characterizing a practice both unilateral and solitary — if we exclude the Yugoslav initiative of 21 September 2000, which has strangely gone unremarked by Belgium — no customary norm has [p 118] emerged. Just as the Respondent's own opinio juris is apparently far from established.

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FN58 See the Belgian communication of 14 February 2001, to which the Congo replied on 22 June 2001.
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53. In reality, the Respondent has sought to rely on a small number of opinions of publicists in order to claim that a new derogative customary norm has come into being. It has provided no evidence of its existence. We know that doctrine represents a means for determining the rules of law. It must be founded on a general practice corresponding to the opinio juris sive necessitas. Nothing of the kind exists today. In my view, the Court could readily find that the Respondent's claims were unfounded. Is it possible that the implementation of international humanitarian law might be subject to a co-efficient of relative normativity — to paraphrase P. Weil? If not, how can there be any legal justification for suspending proceedings against an organ of a Middle Eastern State whilst obstinately persisting with proceedings against the former Congolese Minister for Foreign Affairs?

54. Referring to the relationship between crimes and immunities, or the extent to which the nature of the former impedes the exercise of the latter, Pierre-Marie Dupuy writes, in light of the House of Lords ruling in the Pinochet case:

"We should exercise caution in confirming the emergence of a new customary rule as embodied in the House of Lords ruling, which is based on considerations that are not entirely consistent and cannot, of itself, result in the consolidation of such custom."FN59

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FN59 Pierre-Marie Dupuy, "Crimes et immunités, ou dans quelle mesure la nature des premiers empêche l'exercice des secondes", Revue générale de droit international public, Vol. 103, No. 2, 1999, p. 293; emphasis added.
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Dupuy then recalled that

"custom emerges from the legal opinion of States as demonstrated by their practice, which is, however, far from unified, and in any event shows that States are still reluctant to accept any reductions in the immunities of their high officials"FN60.

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FN60 Ibid.
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There is no conduct "generally" adopted "by tie practice of States". As this Court has held,

"[the] presence [of customary norms] in the opinio juris of States can be tested by induction based on the analysis of a sufficiently extensive and convincing practice, and not by deduction from preconceived ideas'FN61.

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FN61 Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1984, p. 299; emphasis added.
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These are few decisions — or at least any significant number — of courts [p 119] and tribunals worldwide which have taken the Belgian view. Quite the contrary. Just recently, the Court delivered an Opinion in the case concerning the Difference Relating to Immunity from Legal Process of a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, stating: "the Malaysian courts had the obligation to deal with the question of immunity from legal process as a preliminary issue to be expeditiously decided"FN62.

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FN62 Difference Relating to Immunity from Legal Process of a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1999 (I), p. 90, para. 67 (2) (b) ; emphasis added.
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55. Previously, it had noted that

"The High Court of Kuala Lumpur did not pass upon . . . immunity in limine litis, but held that it had jurisdiction to hear the case before it on the merits, including making a determination of whether Mr. Cumaraswamy was entitled to any immunity."FN63

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FN63 Ibid., p. 72, para. 17.
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A similar obligation applies also, and above all, to States in their mutual relations. Thus, by way of analogy, and a fortiori — since we are dealing here with primary subjects of international law and with their highest ranking representatives, namely Ministers for Foreign Affairs — this rule as restated by the Court must be applied in the present case.

56. The successive changes in Mr. Ndombasi's status have no serious implications for the case, except to underline further the violation of the Congo's sovereignty by Belgium on account of its continued interference (see above).

57. Moreover, as the focus of this case is the violation of the immunities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time of the issue and notification of the warrant, the previous and subsequent status of Mr. Ndombasi in no way affect the Congolese complaint. Given that the unlawful proceedings were instituted at a time when he had the status of a specialized organ responsible for the foreign relations of a State and, in consequence, was protected by absolute immunity and personal inviolability from criminal process, the violation of international law to the detriment of the Congo continues to exist; in transgressing the rule of customary international law governing inter-State relations, Belgium has incurred a debt not to an individual but a State, the Congo, whose organ responsible for international relations has been subjected to a rash, vexatious and unlawful measure, which calls for reparation. Yet, in response to these well-founded claims of the Applicant, the Respondent claims not to have violated the sovereign rights of its victim. On the contrary, Belgium claims to be exercising a right conferred on it by international law or fulfilling an obligation imposed on it by international law. That is why it
[p 120] refuses to cancel the warrant and thus make reparation for the injury suffered. Mr. Ndombasi's personal odyssey in no sense marks the end of the inter-State dispute.

58. It is significant that the Respondent implicitly acknowledges the weakness of its defence in the following terms:

"Even were the Court to uphold, contrary to Belgium's submissions, the immunity of Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi qua Minister for Foreign Affairs of the DRC in the circumstances in issue, it would not follow that he would have been immune, even when in office, as regards conduct of a private nature . . ,"FN64

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FN64 Counter-Memorial, p. 116, para. 3.4.15.
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59. Unless one were to contend that Belgium's offence became time-barred after two years. There is in principle no such rule in international law, even less so in the African conception of the law. In Africa, a dispute does not disappear. It is transmitted, like a debt, from generation to gen-eration. The same applies to the subject-matter of the dispute, which cannot be effaced as long as there is no acknowledgment of the offence committed or reparation for the injury suffered by the victim. The Respondent's unfounded denials prompt me to present a hypothetical case.

60. Let us take the example of an individual carrying out the duties of an Adviser on African Affairs to the President or Prime Minister of a certain State. In that capacity, the individual orders the suppression of a popular uprising or a student demonstration in i "friendly country"FN65, resulting in deaths. Subsequently, that Adviser is appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State of the country in question.

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FN65 Jean-Pierre Cot, A l'épreuve du pouvoir. Le tiers-mondisme. Pour quoi faire?, 1984,p. 85. The author notes that, when he was Minister for Cc-operation, he issued ordersthat French military advisers should not be involved in the suppression of the studentdemonstration of June 1981 in Kinshasa.
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61. A third State then issues a warrant against the Minister or Secretary of State on the grounds that he had given orders as Adviser which, when implemented, led to wide-scale and systematic violations of human rights. The question is whether such a warrant does or does not affect the criminal immunities and personal inviolability of the Minister or Secretary of State. In my opinion, the reply has to be in the affirmative. It is the organ of the State, responsible for representing that State internationally, which is the victim of that measure at that point in time.

62. Following a change in administration or government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Secretary of State loses his post (which is different [p 121] from the case of Mr. Ndombasi, where external pressures were exerted). The State which issued the warrant continues proceedings. Does this measure continue to affect the Adviser on African Affairs, the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Secretary of State, or does it affect the individual now freed of all governmental responsibility? I consider that it is the date of the issue of the warrant which establishes the precise moment of the internationally wrongful act and the status at that time of the person against whom the warrant is issued, naming him and violating his moral integrity. It is the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the Secretary of State on the day and at the time of the issue of the warrant who was impugned. This is not an investigative measure directed against a private individual, which the former Secretary of State or Minister for Foreign Affairs has become, nor is it a measure directed at the time against the Adviser on African Affairs. Nothing can change the facts, which, like the sphinx, remain unaffected.

63. The principle of jurisdiction which some call "universal" cannot be seriously contested in terms of the relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions. However, I do have certain reservations about the somewhat unfortunate terminology used in international law. For, in my opinion, the correct summa divisio should consist of (1) territorial jurisdiction, (2) personal jurisdiction and (3) jurisdiction in the public interest.

64. I would not describe the authority exercised by a State as "universal jurisdiction", whether exercised with respect to its nationals abroad, which comes under the head of its personal jurisdiction, or with respect to foreign nationals on the high seas having committed acts of maritime piracy, which falls under the head of jurisdiction in the public interest, or with respect to any person in its territory having offended against its ordre public, which thus falls within the scope of its territorial jurisdiction. The same applies to the jurisdiction which States accord to themselves regarding the punishment of certain violations of treaty provisions. It is readily conceivable that a worldwide entity, not yet in existence, or the United Nations itself and its principal judicial organ, being of a quasi-universal nature, might lay claim to universal legal jurisdiction. As we know, under the specific treaties to which the;' are parties, the members of the quasi-universal community have the power to punish certain offences committed outside their territory in well-defined circumstances. Yet, in material terms, such legal power is not universal. Perhaps under the unfortunate influence of the views of criminal law specialistsFN66, certain internationalists refer to it as the exercise of universal jurisdiction. This expression does not seem appropriate in the present international [p 122] orderFN67. At a time when a large number of States are seeking to promote an international criminal forum with worldwide jurisdiction, would the promotion of "universal" jurisdiction not be a backward step in legal terms?

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FN66 References to "universal jurisdiction" are relatively raie in the works of criminal jurists themselves. See. for example, André Huet and René Koering-Joulin. Droit pénal international, 1994.
FN67 It is from international criminal law, an embryonic discipline with sparse, fragmentary rules, that what is inappropriately termed universal jurisciction derives. But it cannot escape the marks of its original mould. Hence the somewhat nebulous character of an ancient legal power, limited to a handful of historical curiosities such as the repression of the slave trade, timidly extended in the mid-twentieth century to include the punishment of violations of international humanitarian law. It is from the latter that the specialized doctrine and jurisprudence (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) are seeking to make it autonomous. For the "universal jurisciction" claimed by Belgium concerns coercive implementation of the humanitarian rules of Geneva. It is beyond dispute that positive international law authorizes States to penalize offences committed outside their territory when certain conditions relating to the appurtenance to their territorial sovereignty have been met. Nor is there any doubt that this aenal jurisdiction should be strictly interpreted, in conformity with the requirements of criminal law.
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65. As thus understood, the principle of "universal jurisdiction" is laid down, in particular, in Article 49 of the First Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949FN68. But its conception, and especially its application by the Respondent in the present case, do not accord with the law as it currently stands.

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FN68 Article 49 states:
"Each high contracting party shall be obliged to search for persons presumed to have committed or ordered to have committed one or other of these offences, and must bring them before their own courts, irrespective of their nationality."
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66. According to the authorized interpretation of the above Article, the system is based on three essential obligations incumbent on each high contracting party, namely: "to promulgate special legislation; to search for any individual accused of violating the Conveition; to try such indi-vidual or, if the contracting party prefers, to hand over the individual for trial to another interested State"FN69.

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FN69 Jean Pictet (ed.), Commentary on the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. 1952, p. 407; emphasis added.
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67. The Respondent is to be thanked for having, in principle, satisfied the first obligation, subject to reservations as to he scope of its special legislation. Its apparent concern to search for any individual accused of having violated the relevant conventional provisions is also praiseworthy.

68. The congratulations due to the Respondent as regards the principles nevertheless leave room for legitimate complaints on grounds of the scope of its legislation and its implementing measures. The warrant would appear to come under the latter category.[p 123]

I. Special Legislation

69. Neither of the two States (Switzerland and Yugoslavia) cited in the above-mentioned Commentary have adopted legislation with such universal geographical reach as the Belgian warranl. The passages in the Commentary merely reflect a concern to punish offences. The Commentary even warns that "no reference is made to the responsibility which could be incurred by individuals who have not intervened to prevent an offence or to halt it". Given "the Convention's silence, it must be accepted that it is for national legislation to settle the matter"FN70.

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FN70 Jean Pictet (ed.), Commentary on the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. 1952, p. 409; emphasis added.
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2. Searching for and Prosecut.ng the Perpetrators

70. Not only does the Commentary emphasize the punishment of the accused irrespective of their nationality, it also endorses the territorial link, which, under classical international law as thus codified at Geneva, is in fact the norm:

"As soon as one of the contracting parties is aware of the fact that an individual present on its territory has committed such an offence, its duty is to ensure that the individual is arrested and prosecuted quickly."FN71

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FN71 Ibid., p. 411 ; emphasis added.
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Thus, it is not only at the request of a Stale that the necessary police investigations can be undertaken, but the;' may also be carried out unprompted. Beyond the confines of national territory, where in principle the exercise of State authority, whether legislative, executive or judicial, must end, the Commentary — quite naturally in my view — refers to the mechanism of judicial co-operation, that is to say extradition, where "adequate charges are brought against the accused"FN72. Not only is there no extradition treaty between the Parties concerned regarding this matter, but the Congo also subscribes to the legal principle that it cannot extradite its own nationals. It adds — an argument decisive of the matter — that it is unable to prosecute Mr. Ndombasi for lack of any charges against him, there being nothing it accuses him of.

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FN72 Ibid.
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71. The exercise of "universal" jurisdiction thus presupposes the existence of "adequate charges", under the terms of the humanitarian conventionsFN73. Are there any in this case? The Applicant has rejected [p 124] themFN74. Presidents of the Congolese Bar asserted before local media, the day after notification of the warrant on 12 July 2000, that "the case-file was empty". In its warrant, the Respondent failed to specify adequate charges, apart from an unproven assertion that the accused "actively and directly" participated in committing serious offences under international humanitarian law.

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FN73 See, for example, Article 129 (2) of the Third Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949.
FN74 Memorial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, p. 38, para. 57,
"the Belgian authorities failed to place his [Mr. Yerodia's] statements, notably those made on 28 August 1998. in any historical or cultural context. They improperly interpreted them . . . but the causal connection between those words and certain unspeakable acts of violence ... is far from having been clearly established."
For its part the Counter-Memorial of the Kingdom of Belgium reiterates (p. 11, para. 1.10) the facts as stated in the warrant of 11 April 2000, after announcing: "it is not necessary to go into these facts at this point, although relevant aspects will be addressed briefly in Part III below".
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72. What, moreover is the objective criterion which would authorize a State to exercise universal jurisdiction by default in various situations where no jurisdiction has normally been exercised? Is it that these are core crimes! There are said to be a number of them. Hence the legitimacy of the territorial criterion, which allocates jurisdiction as between the States concerned. Otherwise the political criterion of expediency would hold sway. It is accordingly understandable that the consequences of the tragic events in the Congo in August 1998 provided a pretext for the war-rant of 11 April 2000, whereas the extermination of over two and a half million Congolese since that date by Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian aggressors has so far gone unpunished.

73. The Respondent has done everything it can, in accordance with its egregious approach, to criminalize the Applicant's conduct. To the bitter end it has done its utmost to try and prick the conscience of the judges. Not only has it chosen the wrong forum — this Court not being one dealing with matters of substance relating to possible individual criminal responsibility — it has failed, moreover, to provide proof of such responsibility. It should be remembered that actori incurnbit probatio, but also that allegans probat.

74. Should the former model colony of the Belgian Congo, without any proof, prosecute one of the Congolese leaders, who, like his fellow countrymen, rose up against the foreign invaders and their Congolese henchmen? The idea that a State could have the legal power to try offences committed abroad, by foreigners against foreigners, while the suspect himself is on foreign territory, runs counter to the very notion of international law.

75. Article 129, paragraph 2, of the Third Geneva Convention, setting out the principle aut dedere out judicare with respect to criminal penalties, lays down the requirement of "adequate charges". In no wise has it contemplated a so-called jurisdiction by default (in absentia). Thus the [p 125] Commentary on this provision expressly contemplates a situation where the accused "is present on the territory" (of the State party).

76. In vain would one look, in recent practice, for a legislative text or domestic jurisprudence as far-going as this. In its War Crimes Act 1945, as amended in 1988, Australia states that "only an Australian citizen or resident can be charged under the 1988 Act" (Section 11 of the above Act). In Polyukhovich v. Commonwealth of Australia, the Australian High Court had recognized that the Australian courts had the power to exercise "a jurisdiction recognized by international law as universal jurisdiction" vis-à-vis war crimesFN75.

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FN75 Polyukhovich v. Commonwealth of Australia (1991) 172 CLR 501, p. 562; emphasisadded.
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77. A territorial connection is also required by the Austrian Criminal Code in relation to the prosecution of international crimes such as genocide (see its application in the Dusko Cvjetkovic case of 13 July 1994). A personal or territorial connection is also required by Article 7 of the Canadian Criminal Code, as revised in 1985. It was applied in R v. Finta. France, too. requires this connection: "where [the individual] is present in France"FN76. It would be tiresome to list all the many examples.

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FN76 Article 689-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
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78. If I may resort to reasoning by analogy, it is noteworthy that, in the case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, the Court held, specifically with respect to human rights, that:

"where human rights are protected by international conventions, that protection takes the form of such arrangements for monitoring or ensuring respect for human rights as are provided for in the conventions themselves"FN77.

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FN77 I.C.J. Reports 1986. p. 134, para. 267.
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At the time of their adoption, the Geneva Conventions clearly circumscribed the rights and obligations of States on this point. The authors of those instruments certainly in no way contemplated the excessively wide interpretation adopted by Belgium. Moreover, there has been scant evidence in the subsequent practice of any customary development of treaty law in this direction. It could have been codified in the Rome Convention of 17 July 1998, but was not. Thus, one year after the adoption of that Convention, Belgium has introduced a radical innovation of its own. Such concern for humanity!

79. In providing, in Article 7 of the Law of 16 June 1993, as amended on 10 February 1999, that "Belgian courts have jurisdiction to try the offences provided for in the present Law, irrespective of where such offences have been committed", Belgium adopted legislation that was totally unprecedented. It set itself up, if not as the prosecutor for the [p 126] human race in the trans-temporal and trans-spatial sense attributed to this term by R.J. Dupuy, then at least as arbiter of transnational justice, in accordance with the doctrine of "law without frontiers". This approach could even be said to transcend international law itself, since the latter deals essentially with relations between structures with defined borders, namely States. Yet even a cursory assessment shows that the Respondent is violating international law. It is not entitled, as the law currently stands, disdainfully to transcend it. Thus, Heads of States in office Laurent Gbagbo (Cote d'lvoire) on 26 June 2001, Saddam Hussein on 29 June 2001, Fidel Castro (Cuba) on 4 October 2001. Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville) on 4 October 2001, Yasser Arafat on 27 November 2001, a Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon (Israel) on 1 July 2001, an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abdulaye Yerodia Ndombasi on 11 April 2000, are the subject of complaints or prosecutions before the Belgian courts for various "international crimes". The list is still far from exhaustive, the name of President Paul Biya (Cameroon) having been added in December 2001. Joe VerhoevenFN78 rightly feared that the result would be chaos, by definition the opposite of an order already precarious in the international arena. The Court must necessarily be called upon to intervene.

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FN78 Joe Verhoeven, "M. Pinochet, la coutume internationale et la compétence universelle". Journal des tribunaux, 1999, p. 315. and. by the same author, "Vers un ordre répressif universel? Quelques observations", Annuaire français de droit international, 1999, p. 55. Also, "what would happen if a plaintiff prosecuted Mr. Chirac in the French courts for having served in the Algerian War, when massacres were carried out by the French army?" a senior Israeli official is said to have asked following the complaint filed by Mr. Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister. (The Washington Post, 30 April 2001, Washington Post Foreign Service, Karl Vick. p. 101 : "Death Toll in Congo War May Approach 3 Million".)
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80. It should be strongly emphasized that Mr. A. Yerodia Ndombasi would appear to be the only person to have been served with an "international arrest warrant". Most singular. It should also be emphasized that the proceedings against Mr. Ariel Sharon, closely watched all over the world, have apparently been quietly put on hold while Belgium seeks an honourable way out for him through a form of a legal technicality; that since then the highest political authorities in the land have been queuing up at the universities (ULB) to give lectures abruptly denouncing the absurdities of this law, and that, since the close of the oral argument in November 2001, one of Belgium's counsel has altered his teaching in favour of a sine qua non territorial connection. Such is the showing of the Belgian Law when put to the test of international Realpolitik. The chances are that the proceedings instituted following a complaint by "unrepentant subjects of law" against Mr. A. Sharon will be a dead letter.

81. Belgium has neither any obligation — as discussed above — nor any entitlement under international law to pose as prosecutor for all [p 127] mankind, in other words, to claim the right to redeem human suffering across national borders and over generations. The State practice referred to above also applies to my comments here. In no sense, however, is this to argue the case for impunity, whether geographical or temporal, including in wars of colonial conquest and neo-colonial reconquest in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

82. As victims of the violenceFN79 of the aggressors and the series of grave breaches of international humanitarian law, such as the occupation of the Inga Dam and the severing of power and water supplies, particularly in Kinshasa, a city of over 5 million people, resulting in numerous deaths, the Congolese people have consistently called for the withdrawal of the regular occupying forces from Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. They have also called for the setting up of an international criminal tribunal on the Congo. This tribunal would try all persons, whether perpetrators, co-perpetrators or accomplices, whether African or non-African, having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as the extermination of over two-and-a-half million CongoleseFN80 in the regions under foreign occupation since 2 August 1998. It would seem that those victims are (as yet) of no concern to Belgium, sadly notorious — rightly or wrongly — for its colonialFN81 and neo-colonialFN82 past in the field of human rights in the Congo, where a situation of grave, systematic and massive human rights violations persists which requires a response from international opinion. To echo the very fitting words of the French Ambassador to Kinshasa: "on such an issue, there must be no beating about the bush. Endless semantics are not an option when an entire people is dying." For "it is war . . . the occupying armies are on Congolese soil despite the injunctions of the international community"FN83.

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FN79 See S. Oda. declaration appended to the Order of 9 April 1998 in the case concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Provisional Measures. I.C.J. Reports 1998. p. 260. para. 2, and the Order of 3 March 1999 in LaGrand {Germany v. United States of America). Provisional Measures. I.C.J. Reports 1999 (I), p. 18, para. 2. on the need to take account of the rights of the victims of violent attacks (an aspect often neglected).
FN80 Source: International Rescue Committee (USA), <http://intranet.theirc.org/docs/ mortll_report_small.pdf.>
FN81 Adam Horschild. Le fantôme du Roi Leopold. Un holocauste oublié. 1998. pp. 264274; Daniel Vangroenweghe. Du sang sur les lianes. Leopold II et son Congo. 1986, pp. 18-123; Barbara Emerson. Leopold II. Le Royaume et l'Empire, 1980, pp. 248-251.
FN82 See CR 2000/34, p. 16. on the scathing argument of the Congo and Noam Chomsky, Autopsie des terrorismes, 2001, pp. 12-13.
"The European Powers conquered a large part of the world with extreme brutality. With very few exceptions, these Powers were not attacked by their victims in return . . .. nor was Belgium attacked by the Congo . . .'"
FN83 See the speech by Mr. Gildas Le Lidec, French Ambassador in Kinshasa, on 14 July 2001, on the occasion of the French national holiday. Le Palmarès. No. 2181, of 16 July 2001. p. 8.
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[p 128]

83. The views of a few legal writers will suffice to indicate the scale of the dispute on this issue. According to P.-M. Dupuy, "still seldom recognized in customary law, universal jurisdiction can thus only be optional"FN84. The author cites in his support the fact that the French Court of Cassation "has confirmed the refusal by the Appeal Court to see the 1949 Geneva Conventions as providing any legal basis for invoking such jurisdiction"FN85. He concludes that "the Rome Convention does not . . . institute true universal jurisdiction, based as it is on the jurisdiction of the State of nationality of the perpetrator and/or that of the State where the offence was committed"FN86. As for Francois Rigaux, he prefers not to commit himself "on a controversial, topical theme"FN87. Mario Bettati, on the other hand, considers that "universal jurisdiction . . . provides grounds for any State to prosecute crimes which are all the more serious because they sometimes involve both crimes against the laws of war and crimes against humanity"FN88. No proof is provided for this assertion. By contrast, Nguyen Quoc Dinh, Patrick Dailler and Alain Pellet refer to it as "a disputed principle"FN89. Olivier T. Covey only accepts it if the author of the offence "is later found on national territory"FN90. The advocates of universal jurisdiction recognize it provided the accused "is present on its territory"FN91. Jean Combacau and Serge Sur, however, point out that "States remain faithful to territorial and personal criteria and refrain from any recourse to universal or in rem jurisdiction"FN92. And Philippe Weckel, while observing the reference to universal jurisdiction in the Preamble to the Treaty of Rome of 28 July 1998, nevertheless notes the ubiquitous presence of the "judicial sovereignty of States"; for, as Belgian practice has already shown, "universal jurisdiction . . . would ultimately seem to be exercised unilaterally"FN93.

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FN84 Pierre-Marie Dupuy, be. cit., p. 293; emphasis added.
FN85 Ibid., p. 294.
FN86 Ibid.
FN87 François Rigaux, "Le concept de territorialité: un fantasme en quête de réalité", in Liber Amicorum Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui, 1999, p. 211.
FN88 Mario Bettati. Le droit d'ingérence. Mutation de l'ordre international, 1996, p. 269.
FN89 Nguyen Quoc Dinh, Patrick Dailler and Alain Pellet, Droit international public, 1999, p. 689.
FN90 Olivier T. Covey, "La compétence des Etats", Droit international. Bilan et perspec-tives. 1991, p. 336.
FN91 Brigitte Stern, "A propos de la compétence universelle", in Liber Amicorum Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui. p. 748.
FN92 Jean Combacau and Serge Sur, Droit international public 1993, p. 351.
FN93 P. Weckel, "La Cour pénale internationale". Revue générale de droit international publie, Vol. 102, No. 4, 1998, pp. 986, 989. According to one criminal expert from the Congo, Nyabirungu Mwene Songa, Droit pénal general, Kinshasa, 1995, pp. 77 and 79. the "so-called system of universal jurisdiction gives the court of the place of arrest the power of trial" (emphasis added).
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84. The warrant of 11 April 2000 produced legal effects both internally in Belgium and internationally. [p 129]

85. To begin with the internal aspect. Juridically, it seems clear that serving a warrant on a Minister for Foreign Affairs constitutes an unlawful act, as it breaches both his inviolability and his immunity from criminal jurisdiction. Formally, it is by nature an act of coercion. Materially, its terms make no secret of the fate which awaits the Foreign Minister. The agents of the Belgian authorities are required physically to apprehend a Minister for Foreign Affairs of another sovereign State! In terms of its purpose, the warrant seeks to extinguish the freedom to come and go as well as to destroy the inherent dignity of an organ of an independent country. Organically, the investigating judge who acted against the Minister concerned is not to be confused with an agent of State protocol. Regarding the warrant, the Court rightly states:

"its mere issue violated . . . immunity . . . The Court accordingly concludes that the issue of the warrant constituted a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, in that it failed to respect the immunity of that Minister . . . under international law." (Judg-ment, para. 70.)

86. These are the objective elements showing that this unprecedented warrant produced legal effects. The fact that it was not physically implemented is another matter. It could have been implemented. That the Respondent may flout the rules of elementary courtesy between supposedly civilized States with respect to another State is one thing in law. The warrant quite simply discredited the Congolese organs of State, treating them in an altogether discourteous and unlawful manner. And that is not all.

87. At international level, our main focus of attention here, since we are dealing with a flagrant breach of customary international law on immunities, I need only refer to my analysis at the provisional measures stage. Moreover, the reasoning of the Judgment does indeed appear to underline the legal harm thus sufferedFN94.

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FN94 Judgment, paras. 70 and 71.
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88. As I indicated at the preliminary measures stage, the disputed warrant caused prejudice to Congolese diplomacy. While the head of the diplomatic corps was nevertheless able to travel unimpeded in the southern hemisphere in order to attend diplomatic meetings aimed at bringing an end to the armed conflict in the Congo, he was, on the other hand, unable so to travel in other regions much more important for settlement of the conflict. Even if the Congolese State was represented there, it was at a lower level. The result was that the substance of the peace talks at foreign ministerial level was adversely affected by virtue of the rule of diplomatic precedence. Ultimately, the Congo's international sovereignty prerogatives suffered prejudiceFN95.

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FN95 See also S. Bula-Bula, dissenting opinion appended to the Order of 8 December 2000, Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures, I.C.J. Reports 2000. p. 222. para. 16
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[p 130]
.
89. In particular, the regular and continuous operation of the country's foreign service was disrupted by this politico-legal interference, the head of the diplomatic corps having been subjected to "arbitrary quarantine". The serving of the warrant also violated the political independence of the Congo. As indicated above, it obliged a weak State, further weakened by armed aggression, to change the composition of its Government — against its wishes according to counsel for the Congo, a member of that country's GovernmentFN96— to please the Respondent. Belgium has not disputed this statement.

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FN96 See oral argument of 22 November 2000, CR 2000/34. p. 10.
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90. There is no doubt at all that Belgium's conduct has discredited the Congo. Its effect, as a result of a decision taken in an apparently summary manner, has been to put further pressure on a State already under attack at a time when the Central African States, meeting in Libreville (Gabon) on 24 September 1998, "condemned the aggression against the DR of the Congo and the interference described above in the internal affairs of that country"FN97. The criminal proceedings thus instituted against an organ of a victim of aggression constitute accusations that degrade it in the eyes of the "international community". They had a deleterious effect on the moral rights to honour and dignity of the Congolese people, as represented by their StateFN98.

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FN97 See Le Phare. No. 818 of 28 September 1988. p. 3.
FN98 See also S. Bula-Bula. dissenting opinion appended to the Order of 8 December 2000, Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures. I.C.J. Reports 2000, pp. 222-223. para. 17.
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91. The fact that, by issuing, circulating and maintaining the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000, the Respondent committed an internationally wrongful act has been demonstrated above. Belgium breached its international obligations under general international law.

92. At this point, the following view expressed by Paul Guggenheim seems particularly instructive:

"Contrary to widely held opinion, it is not only when it is actually implemented that domestic law may violate international law. The very fact of the enactment — or non-enactment — of a general norm capable of being applied directly and thereby causing injury, is an international wrong. The enactment of a norm contrary to international law is thus a sanctionable matter . . ."FN99

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FN99 P. Guggenheim, Traité de droit international public. Vol. I. pp. 7-8, quoted by Krys-tyna Marek, "Les rapports entre le droit international et le droit interne à la lumière de la jurisprudence de la Cour permanente de Justice internationale". Revue générale de droit international public. Vol. XXXIII. 1962. p. 276; emphasis added.
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This is an argument applicable a fortiori to the warrant, a mere act — indeed, in the view of Congo's counsel, a wrongful act — of application.

93. On closer examination, the Belgian warrant does not, in interna-[p 131]tional law, constitute a legal act. As noted by Congo's counsel, it is an internationally wrongful act. The proposition that: "[i]n the eyes of international law and of the Court which is its organ, domestic laws are merely facts, manifestations of the will and the activity of States, just as judicial decisions or administrative measures are''FN100, is extremely apposite here.

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FN100 Case concerning Certain German Interests in Polish Upper Silesia, Merits, Judgment No. 7, 1926, P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 7, p. 19.
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94. The argument seeking to distinguish the instrumentum on the one hand and the negotium on the other is thus invalid. Wrongfulness does not cease to exist because the organ of State has changed. For, through that organ, it is, of course, the State which is the target. This is even clearer in the case at issue, in which various members of the Government were on the list drawn up by the Belgian judge, the Head of State included! Moreover, an unlawful warrant is not, ipso facto, void in law. This is precisely the case here. Generally speaking, in international law, there are national measures (human rights, law of the sea, etc.) enacted perfectly legally, which are nevertheless unlawful. They engage the responsibility of their authors. But the fact that it is adjudged unlawful by an international organ does not of itself annul the national measure. It is for the State transgressing international law to extinguish its unlawful act.

95. The Respondent violated international law on immunities on 11 April 2000 by issuing the warrant. It subsequently confirmed its unlawful conduct by circulating the warrant internationally. The unlawful act was communicated to the Applicant on 12 July 2000. After the violation, which was complete on 11 April 2000, the Respondent claims to have sought, on 15 September 2000, to transmit the case file to the Applicant by diplomatic channels. Not only did it provide no proof of this tardy act of repentance, which, moreover, is contested by Congo's counsel; the attempt to whitewash the wrongful act, rightly repudiated by the Applicant, is devoid of all effect.

96. Worse, there is a major factor which demonstrates Belgium's resolutely wrongful conduct in the course of the proceedings. What other word could be used to describe the Respondent's request for a Red Notice on 12 September 2001? Notwithstanding the international judicial proceedings brought against it, Belgium persists in seeking to implement its unilateral wrongful act by means of a Red Notice. In so doing, not only has the Respondent provided eloquent proof of lack of good faith in relation to the conduct of the international legal proceedings; but is it not also guilty of "an encroachment on the functions of the Court"FN101 ?

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FN101 I am here drawing on the views of Judge Tarazi, dissenting opinion appended to the Judgment of 24 May 1980, case concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, I.C.J. Reports 1980. p. 64.
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*
[p 132]

97. While powerful States — a relative notion in terms of time and geography — sometimes tend to invoke international law to justify their conduct a posteriori, weak States — an equally relative concept in the same terms — often tend to ensure that their conduct complies with international law, since this is the only power they have.

98. Without regard for the criminal immunities and inviolability of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo, the Kingdom of Belgium issued an arrest warrant against this distinguished organ of a sovereign State on the basis of allegations that "international crimes" had been committed during the armed attack on the Congo of 2 August 1998.

99. Not only has the Congo demonstrated vis-à-vis the "international community" its status as a subject of international law capable of appearing before the Court, but this victim of aggression has conducted itself as a State of law, in other words, an entity which respects international law.

100. The Congolese people, through the medium of their State, have thus been able to express their international personality. They have also affirmed that they are free. In this respect, has the Respondent mistaken which generation and era it is dealing with? When in 1989 the ruling Government in Kinshasa considered bringing the Belgo-Congolese dispute before the Court, its initiative went no further than acceptance of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction. There followed the Rabat Agreement of June 1989, which defused the quarrel between sovereigns States. That is no longer the case today.

101. Whilst R. Aron maintained in 1984 that "the example of Congo suggests that, in the masses, tribal awareness still prevails over national awareness . . ."FN102, at the same time, Paul Reuter and Jean Combacau had no hesitation in drawing the following parallel between the nation-building process in "the most centralized European States of today" and in the Congo: "this is the situation of a large and populous African State such as Zaire, where a Zairian nation is daily being forged at the expense of the ethnic communities, whose fate might otherwise have been different" FN103.We, for our part, have taken the view that "for unacknowledged reasons, the collective Zairian will to live, forged by years of sometimes open, sometimes silent resistance to one of the most savage political regimes the twentieth century has seen, is underestimated"FN104.

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FN102 Raymond Aron, Paix et guerre entre les nations, 1984, p. 389.
FN103 Paul Reuter and Jean Combacau, Institutions et relations internationales, 1988, p. 24.
FN104 Sayeman Bula-Bula, "La doctrine d'ingérence humanitaire revisitée", Revue africaine de droit international et comparé (London), Vol. 9, No. 3, September 1997, p. 626, footnote 109.
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102. Like a two-headed Janus, the Judgment constitutes, on the one hand, an act of repudiation of the unhealthy relations, supposedly of friendship and co-operation, between a dominating and a dominated [p 133] State immediately following a botched process of decolonization; on the other hand, it is an act which may well serve as the basis of mutually beneficial healthy relations of friendship and lasting co-operation between sovereign partners linked by history. Sooner or later such relations will develop. The sooner the better. It is to be hoped that the Parties, and especially the Respondent, grasp the fundamental significance of this decision. The Court's contribution to the peaceful settlement of the dispute will have been most beneficial. Provided the Respondent adopts a new mindset and jettisons its outmoded conceptions maintained by the weight of history and unequal power relations. Thus, on the eve of the formation of a government inspired by Belgium, academic advisers from that country warned it that:

"Unless it ensures that it can play a decisive role in revitalizing the national economy, unless it claims such a role for itself and succeeds in playing it, Belgium risks relinquishing its leadership in Zaire and losing its principal asset, as well as its most effective vehicle for the expression of foreign policy. It is first and foremost Zaire that enables us to play a role on the international stage and frequently to sit at the table of the powerful." FN105

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FN105 See Société nationale d'investissement et administration générale de la coopération au développement, Zaïre, secteur des parastataux. réactivation de l'économie. Contribu-tion d'entreprise du portefeuille de l'Etat, report by M. Moll, J.-P. Couvreur and M. Norro. professors at the Université catholique de Louvain, 29 April 1994, p. 231.
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103. The African States particularly, which increasingly appear as "ordinary" parties before the Court, have their own reasons for entrusting their disputes to that body of eminent, independent and uprightFN106 jurists. Here I am particularly thinking of complaints like the one against Congo brought before a national judge, should the Respondent pursue its policy of double standards. Especially as the large number of African, Latin American and Asian leaders brought before Belgian justice might — wrongly — suggest that the presumed violations of international humanitarian law, in particular crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes, are a monopoly of Africa, Latin America and Asia.

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FN106 See Article 2 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice.
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104. This is where "universal" jurisdiction shows its true colours as a "variable geometry" jurisdiction, selectively exercised against some States to the exclusion of others. It requires no great knowledge to be aware that, at global level, it is not just the handful of prominent personalities charged before the Brussels judge who are the subject of public rumours of serious human rights violations.

105. It is clear that the Court's task is to settle disputes between States [p 134] submitted to it by parties. It is not its task to teach the law. Yet the settlement of disputes can provide valuable lessons. Indeed, at the end of the oral argument, one of Belgium's counsel revised his script. One of the merits of the Judgment is that it has contributed to the teaching of international law. The fears we expressed when preliminary measures were requestedFN107 have not become groundless. The Court has drafted a new chapter on the international law of immunities as it pertains to Ministers for Foreign AffairsFN108. As such, there is no doubt that it is a useful addi-tion to the handbooks on public international law. Intervening at a time when the doctrinal debate is at its height, as witness the proceedings of the Institut de droit international at its Vancouver session in August 2001, the Judgment casts a great deal of light on this issue.

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FN107 See Sayeman Bula-Bula, dissenting opinion appended to the Order of 8 December 2000 delivered in the case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures, I.C.J. Reports 2000, p. 219, para. 4.
FN108 According to Dominique Carreau, Droit international. Vol. I, 2001, p. 653, theCourt performs a "major role" in "the development of contemporary international law".
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106. The question of the "legal relationship between universal jurisdiction and . . . immunities"FN109, which I was concerned to raise, has also implicitly been settled in favour of immunitiesFN110. And without prejudice to the established nature of the legal principle concerned, with the exception of the power to punish certain violations of conventional provisions recognized as between States parties.

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FN109 Sayeman Bula-Bula, dissenting opinion appended to the Order of 8 December 2000 delivered in the case concerning the Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Repub-lic of the Congo v. Belgium), Provisional Measures, I.C.J. Reports 2000, p. 220, para. 7.
FN110 Judgment, paras. 70 and 71.
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107. The Court has established the existence in customary international law of the rules relating to the criminal immunity and inviolability of Ministers for Foreign Affairs. It has applied them to this case because Mr. A. Yerodia Ndombasi was Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time of the events concerned. Given that the international dispute concerned conflicting claims between the immunities in question and so-called universal jurisdiction, it follows that the Court, by virtue of its decision, has implicitly rejected the claim to such jurisdiction in the present caseFN111. It has thus ruled that so-called universal jurisdiction, even if it were established in international law, would in any event be inoperative as regards the criminal immunities and inviolability of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, whatever the alleged crimes. The Applicant has not requested a declaratory judgment. The Court has been asked to settle a concrete dispute by stating the law and effectively applying it to the dispute. But a general, abstract, impersonal discussion of this disputed [p 135] jurisdiction, having not been requested by the Applicant, was not requiredFN112, even though, in my view, it would have been desirable for the Congo to have maintained this claim also in its final written and oral submissions. Since the Applicant asked the Court to state the law and settle the dispute, should it not have sought to dispose of every possible ground, whether "universal", humanitarian or other? One thing is certain, the argument seeking to qualify immunities was rejected in the Judgment's operative part. Any other argument founded on other grounds of "trans-frontierism" is also virtually excluded in the reasoning. Faced with the "sound judicial economy"FN113observed by our institution, it was for the opinions to "illuminate the reasoning of the Judgment in counterpoint", so that "the decision's full substance could be extracted and the whole import of its contribution to the jurisprudence could be apprehended"FN114.

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FN111See the cases concerning the North Sea Continental Shelf, I.C.J. Reports 1969, pp. 6 et seq.
FN112 There are some who trace "universal jurisdiction" back to the Middle Ages. In this respect, one should perhaps be wary of taking as universal what is probably merely regional. Hence, according to E. Ogueri II "the rules of conduct which, for example, governed relations between Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa, or between nations in other parts of Africa and Asia, were regarded as 'universally recognized customary laws'" prior to colonization. See E. Ogueri II, Intervention, International Law Association Report. Warsaw Session, 1988, p. 969.
FN113 See Manfred Lachs, separate opinion appended to the Judgment of 24 May 1980 in the case concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, I.C.J. Reports 1980, p. 47.
FN114 Mohammed Bedjaoui, "La 'fabrication' des arrêts de la Cour international de Justice". Le droit international au service de la paix, de la justice et du développement, Mélanges Michel Virally, 1991, p. 105.
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108. In conclusion, it is clear that the Congo also seems to have acted in accordance with the "functional duality" referred to by Georges Scelle. It brought international legal proceedings not only on its own behalf and for itself, but also for the benefit of the "international community". It has given the Court the opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the legal mechanism of immunities, which facilitates legal relations between States worldwide, irrespective of the arguments raised against it.

109. There is every likelihood that the Judgment, small in size, yet large in legal substance, will be favourably received by the "international community", if, of course, this is taken to mean all States, international organizations and other international public entities. Irrespective of the divergence of interests, the disparity in the level of development and the diversity of cultures, what has been reaffirmed here is a denominator common to all.

110. The decision should also serve as a rebuke to the opinion manipulators, who should be denied the de facto power to exploit "the misfortunes of others" for unstated endsFN115.

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FN115 See Bernard Kouchner. Le malheur des autres, 1991 (241 pages).
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[p 136]

111. Lastly, it should call for greater modesty from the new fundamentalist crusaders on behalf of humanitarianism, "skilled at presenting problems in a false light in order to justify damaging solutions"FN116, including a certain trend of legal militancyFN117.

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FN116 See Aimé Césaire, Discours sur le colonialisme, 1995, p. 8.
FN117 On legal militancy, see J. Combacau and Serge Sur, Droit international public, 1993. p. 46; Nguyen Quoc Dinh, Patrick Dallier and Alain Pellet, Droit international public, 1992, p. 79. The authors discern a western current of militancy, supposedly represented by Georg Schwarzenberger and Rosalyn Higgins of the United Kingdom and My res S. McDougal, Richard Falk and M. Reisman of the United States; an Eastern current, without indicating any authors, and an Ancient World current with Mohammed Bedjaoui. Georges Abi-Saab and Taslim Olawale Elias in the vanguard. In reality, there is always an ideological start, and hence militancy, in the work of any author. To quote just a few. J. Combacau and S. Sur, in op. cit., Avertissement, while stressing their "legal positivism", nonetheless display their liberal tendency. Thus, at a time when the number of ratifications required by the Convention on the Law of the Sea had been reached, they still speculate: "always supposing it ever enters into force" (pp. 452-453); see also the assertion that this Convention has inverted "on purely formal bases the real balance between interests and power" (p. 446) or the assertion that this text is not "like the Geneva Conventions of 1958, a convention of codification but one of progressive development . . ." (p. 452). See also Nguyen Quoc Dinh et al., op. cit., p. 1093, who refer to "the possible entry into force of the Convention".
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(Signed) Sayeman Bula-Bula. [p 137]
 


DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE VAN DEN WYNGAERT
[English Original Text ]

Table of contents

 

 

Paragraphs

 

 

I. Introductory Observations

1-7

 

 

II. Immunities

8-39

 

 

1. There is no rule of customary international law granting immu­nity to incumbent Foreign Ministers

11-23

 

 

2. Incumbent Foreign Ministers are not immune from the juris­diction of other States when charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity

24-38

 

 

(a) The distinction between immunity as a procedural defence and immunity as a substantive defence is not relevant for the purposes of this dispute

29-33

(b) The Court's proposition that immunity does not neces­sarily lead to impunity is wrong

34-38

 

 

3. Conclusion

39

 

 

III. Universal Jurisdiction

40-67

 

 

1. Universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity is compatible with the "Lotus" test

48-62

 

 

(a) International law does not prohibit universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity

52-58

 

 

(b) International law permits universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity

59-62

[p 138]

 

2. Universal jurisdiction is not contrary to the complementarity principle in the Statute for an International Criminal Court

63-66

 

 

3. Conclusion

67

 

 

IV. Existence or an Internationally Wrongful Act

68-80

 

 

1. The issuance of the disputed arrest warrant in Belgium was not in violation of international law

72-75

 

 

2. The international circulation of the disputed arrest warrant was not in violation of international law

76-79

 

 

3. Conclusion

80

 

 

V. Remedies

81-84

 

 

VI. Final Observations

85-87

[p 139]
I. Introductory Observations

1. I have voted against paragraphs (2) and (3) of the dispositif of this Judgment. International law grants no immunity from criminal process to incumbent Foreign Ministers suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. There is no evidence for the proposition that a State is under an obligation to grant immunity from criminal process to an incumbent Foreign Minister under customary international law. By issuing and circulating the warrant, Belgium may have acted contrary to international comity. It has not, however, acted in violation of an international legal obligation (Judgment, para. 78 (2)).

Surely, the warrant based on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot infringe rules on immunity today, given the fact that Mr. Yerodia has now ceased to be a Foreign Minister and has become an ordinary citizen. Therefore, the Court is wrong when it finds, in the last part of its dispositif, that Belgium must cancel the arrest warrant and so inform the authorities to which the warrant was circulated (Judgment, para. 78 (3)).

I will develop the reasons for this dissenting view below. Before doing so, I wish to make some general introductory observations.

2. The case was about an arrest warrant based on acts allegedly committed by Mr. Yerodia in 1998 when he was not yet a Minister. These acts included various speeches inciting racial hatred, particularly virulent remarks, allegedly having the effect of inciting the population to attack Tutsi residents in Kinshasa, dragnet searches, manhunts and lynchings. Following complaints of a number of victims who had fled to Belgium, a criminal investigation was initiated in 1998, which eventually, in April 2000, led to the arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia, who had meanwhile become a Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Congo. This warrant was not enforced when Mr. Yerodia visited Belgium on an official visit in June 2000, and Belgium, although it circulated the warrant internationally via an Interpol Green Notice, did not request Mr. Yero-dia's extradition as long as he was in office. The request for an Interpol Red Notice was only made in 2001, after Mr. Yerodia had ceased to be a Minister.

3. Belgium has, at present, very broad legislation that allows victims of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity to institute criminal proceedings in its courts. This triggers negative reactions in some circles, while inviting acclaim in others. Belgium's conduct (by its Parliament, judiciary and executive powers) may show a lack of international courtesy. Even if this were true, it does not follow that Belgium actually violated (customary or conventional) international law. Political wisdom may command a change in Belgian legislation, as has been proposed in [p 140] various circlesFN1. Judicial wisdom may lead to a more restrictive application of the present statute, and may result from proceedings that are pending before the Belgian courtsFN2. This does not mean that Belgium has acted in violation of international law by applying it in the case of Mr. Yerodia. I see no evidence for the existence of such a norm, not in conventional or in customary international law for the reasons set out belowFN3.

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FN1 The Belgian Foreign Minister, the Belgian Minister of Justice, and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission House of Representatives have made public statements in which they called for a revision of the Belgian Act of 1993/1999. The Government referred the matter to the Parliament, where a bill was introduced in December 2001 (Proposition de loi modifiant, sur le plan de la procédure, la loi du 16 juin 1993 relative à la répression des violations graves du droit international humanitaire, doc. pari. Chambre 2001-2002, No. 1568/001, available at http://www.lachambre.be/documents_parlementaires.html).
FN2 A. Winants. Le Ministère public et le droit pénal international. Discours prononcé ¿i l'occasion de l'audience solennelle de rentrée de la Cour d'appel de Bruxelles du 3 septembre 2001, p. 45.
FN3 Infra, paras. 11 et seq.
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4. The Judgment is shorter than expected because the Court, which was invited by the Parties to narrow the dispute, did not decide the question of (universal) jurisdiction, and has only decided the question of immunity from jurisdiction, even though, logically the question of jurisdiction would have preceded that of immunityFN4. In addition, the Judgment is very brief in its reasoning and analysis of the arguments of the Parties. Some of these arguments were not addressed, others in a very succinct manner, certainly in comparison with recent judgments of nationalFN5 and international courtsFN6 on issues that are comparable to those that were before the International Court of Justice.

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FN4 See further infra, para. 41.
FN5 Prominent examples are the Pinochet cases in Spain and the United Kingdom (Audiencia Nacional. Auto de la Sala de lo Penal de la Audiencia Nacional confirmando la jurisdicción de España para conocer de los crímenes de genocidio y terrorismo cometidos durante la dictadura chilena, 5 November 1998, http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/chile/ juicio/audi.html ; R. v. Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrale and Others, ex parte Pinochet ligarte, 24 March 1999, [1999] 2 All ER 97, HL, p. 97), the Qaddafi case in France (Cour de cassation, 13 March 2001, http://courdecassation.fr/agenda/arrets/ arrets/00-87215.htm) and the Bouterse case in the Netherlands (Hof Amsterdam, No. R 97/163/12 Sv and R 97/176/12 Sv, 20 November 2000: Höge Raad, Strafkamer, Zaaknr. 00749/01 CW 2323, 18 September 2001, http://www.rechtspraak.nl).
FN6 ECHR (European Commission of Human Rights), Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom, 21 November 2001, http://www.echr.coe.int.
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5. This case was to be a test case, probably the first opportunity for the International Court of Justice to address a number of questions that have [p 141] not been considered since the famous "Lotus" case of the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1927FN7.

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FN7 "Lotus", Judgment No. 9, 1927, P.C.I.J., Series A. No. 10.
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In technical terms, the dispute was about an arrest warrant against an incumbent Foreign Minister. The warrant was, however, based on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which the Court even fails to mention in the dispositif. In a more principled way, the case was about how far States can or must go when implementing modern international criminal law. It was about the question what international law requires or allows States to do as "agents" of the international community when they are confronted with complaints of victims of such crimes, given the fact that international criminal courts will not be able to judge all international crimes. It was about balancing two divergent interests in modern international (criminal) law: the need of international accountability for such crimes as torture, terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity and the principle of sovereign equality of States, which presupposes a system of immunities.

6. The Court has not addressed the dispute from this perspective and has instead focused on the very narrow question of immunities of incumbent Foreign Ministers. In failing to address the dispute from a more principled perspective, the International Court of Justice has missed an excellent opportunity to contribute to the development of modern international criminal law.

Yet international criminal law is becoming a very important branch of international law. This is manifested in conventions, in judicial decisions of national courts, international criminal tribunals and of international human rights courts, in the writings of scholars and in the activities of civil society. There is a wealth of authority on concepts such as universal jurisdiction, immunity from jurisdiction and international accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanityFN8. It is surprising that the International Court of Justice does not use the term international criminal law and does not acknowledge the existence of these authorities.

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FN8 See further infra, footnote 98.
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7. Although, as a matter of logic, the question of jurisdiction comes firstFN9, I will follow the chronology of the reasoning of the Judgment and deal with immunities first.

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FN9 Infra, para. 41.
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[p 142]

II. Immunities

8. The Court starts by observing that, in the absence of a general text defining the immunities of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, it is on the basis of customary international law that it must decide the questions relating to the immunities of Ministers for Foreign Affairs raised by the present case (Judgment, para. 52 in fine). It immediately continues by stating that "In customary international law, the immunities accorded to Ministers for Foreign Affairs are not granted for their personal benefit, but to ensure the effective performance of their functions on behalf of their respective States" (Judgment, para. 53). The Court then compares the functions of Foreign Ministers with those of Ambassadors and other diplomatic agents on the one hand, and those of Heads of State and Heads of Governments on the other, whereupon it reaches the following conclusion (Judgment, para. 54):

"The Court accordingly concludes that the functions of a Minister for Foreign Affairs are such that, throughout the duration of his or her office, he or she when abroad enjoys full immunity from criminal jurisdiction and inviolability. That immunity and that inviolability protect the individual concerned against any act of authority of another State which would hinder him or her in the performance of his or her duties."

9. On the other hand, the Court, looking at State practice in the field of war crimes and crimes against humanity (Judgment, para. 58), decides that:

"It has been unable to deduce from this practice that there exists under customary international law any form of exception to the rule according immunity from criminal jurisdiction and inviolability to incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs, where they are suspected of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity."

10. I disagree with the reasoning of the Court, which can be summarized as follows: (a) there is a rule of customary international law granting "full" immunity to incumbent Foreign Ministers (Judgment, para. 54), and (b) there is no rule of customary international law departing from this rule in the case of war crimes and crimes against humanity (Judgment, para. 58). Both propositions are wrong.

First, there is no rule of customary international law protecting incumbent Foreign Ministers against criminal prosecution. International comity and political wisdom may command restraint, but there is no obligation under positive international law on States to refrain from exercising jurisdiction in the case of incumbent Foreign Ministers suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. [p 143]

Secondly, international law does not prohibit, but instead encourages States to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, even if the alleged perpetrator holds an official position in another State.

Consequently, Belgium has not violated an obligation under international law by issuing and internationally circulating the arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia. I will explain the reasons for this conclusion in the following two paragraphs.

/. There Is No Rule of Customary International Law Granting Immunity to Incumbent Foreign Ministers

11. I disagree with the proposition that incumbent Foreign Ministers enjoy immunities on the basis of customary international law for the simple reason that there is no evidence in support of this proposition. Before reaching this conclusion, the Court should have examined whether there is a rule of customary international law to this effect. It is not sufficient to compare the rationale for the protection from suit in the case of diplomats. Heads of State and Foreign Ministers to draw the conclusion that there is a rule of customary international law protecting Foreign Ministers: identifying a common raison d'etre for a protective rule is one thing, elevating this protective rule to the status of customary international law is quite another thing. The Court should have first examined whether the conditions for the formation of a rule of customary law were fulfilled in the case of incumbent Foreign Ministers. In a surprisingly short decision, the Court immediately reaches the conclusion that such a rule exists. A more rigorous approach would have been highly desirable.

12. In the brevity of its reasoning, the Court disregards its own case law on the subject on the formation of customary international law. In order to constitute a rule of customary international law, there must be evidence of State practice (usus) and opinio juris to the effect that this rule exists.
In one of the leading precedents on the formation of customary international law, the Continental Shelf case, the Court stated the following:

"Not only must the acts concerned amount to a settled practice, but they must also be such, or be carried out in such a way, as to be evidence of a belief that this practice is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. The need for such a belief, i.e., the existence of a subjective element, is implicit in the very notion of the opinio juris sive necessitatis. The States concerned must therefore feel that they are conforming to what amounts to a legal obligation.
[p 144]

The frequency, or even habitual character of the acts is not in itself enough. There are many international acts, e.g., in the field of ceremony and protocol, which are performed almost invariably, but which are motivated only by considerations of courtesy, convenience or tradition, and not by any sense of legal duty."FN10

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FN10 North Sea Continental Shelf, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1969, p. 44, para. 77.
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In the Nicaragua case, the Court held that:

"Bound as it is by Article 38 of its Statute to apply, inter alia, international custom 'as evidence of a general practice accepted as law', the Court may not disregard the essential role played by general practice . . . The Court must satisfy itself that the existence of the rule in the opinio juris of States is confirmed by practice."FN11

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FN11" Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits. Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1986, pp. 97-98. para. 184.
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13. In the present case, there is no settled practice (usus) about the postulated "full" immunity of Foreign Ministers to which the International Court of Justice refers in paragraph 54 of its present Judgment. There may be limited State practice about immunities for currentFN12 or former Heads of StateFN13 in national courts, but there is no such practice about Foreign Ministers. On the contrary, the practice rather seems to be that there are hardly any examples of Foreign Ministers being granted immunity in foreign jurisdictionsFN14. Why this is so is a matter of speculation. The question, however, is what to infer from this "negative practice". Is this the expression of an opinio juris to the effect that international law prohibits criminal proceedings or, concomitantly, that Belgium [p 145] is under an international obligation to refrain from instituting such proceedings against an incumbent Foreign Minister?

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FN12 Cour de cassation (Fr.), 13 March 2001 (Qaddafi).
FN13 R. v. Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and Others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte. 25 November 1998. [1998] 4 All ER 897.
FN14 Only one case has been brought to the attention of the Court: Chong Boon Kim v. Kim Yong Shik and David Kim. Circuit Court (First Circuit, State of Hawaii), 9 September 1963, 58 AJIL. 1964, pp. 186-187. This case was about an incumbent Foreign Minister against whom process was served while he was on an official visit in the United States (see paragraph 1 of the "Suggestion of Interest Submitted on Behalf of the United States", ibid.). Another case where immunity was recognized, not of a Minister but of a prince, was in the case of Kilrov v. Windsor (Prince Charles, Prince of Wales), US District Court for the ND of Ohio. 7 December 1978. International Law Reports. Vol. 81, 1990. pp. 605607. In that case, the judge observes:
"The Attorney-General . . . has determined that the Prince of Wales is immune from suit in this matter and has filed a 'suggestion of immunity' with the Court . . . [T]he doctrine, being based on foreign policy considerations and the Executive's desire to maintain amiable relations with foreign States, applies with even more force to live persons representing a foreign nation on an official visit." (Emphasis added.)
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A "negative practice" of States, consisting in their abstaining from instituting criminal proceedings, cannot, in itself, be seen as evidence of an opinio juris. Abstinence may be explained by many other reasons, including courtesy, political considerations, practical concerns and lack of extraterritorial criminal jurisdictionFN15. Only if this abstention was based on a conscious decision of the States in question can this practice generate customary international law. An important precedent is the 1927 "Lotus" case, where the French Government argued that there was a rule of customary international law to the effect that Turkey was not entitled to institute criminal proceedings with regard to offences committed by foreigners abroadFN16. The Permanent Court of International Justice rejected this argument and held:

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FN15 In some States, for example, the United States, victims of extraterritorial human rights abuses can bring civil actions before the Courts. See, for example, the Karadzic case (Kadic v. Karadzic, 70 F. 3d 232 (2d Cir. 1995)). There are many examples of civil suits against incumbent or former Heads of State, which often arose from criminal offences. Prominent examples are the Aristeguieta case (Jimenez v. Arisieguieta, ILR, 1962. p. 353), the Aristide case (Lajontant v. Aristide, 844 F. Supp. 128 (EDNY 1994), noted in 88 AJIL, 1994, pp. 528-532), the Marcos cases (Estate of Silme G Domingo v. Ferdinand Marcos, No. C82-1055V, 77 AJIL, 1983, p. 305: Republic of the Philippines v. Marcos and Others (1986), ILR, 81. p. 581 and Republic of the Philippines v. Marcos and Others, 1987, 1988. ILR, 81, pp. 609 and 642) and the Duvalier case (Jean-Juste v. Duvalier. No. 86-0459 Civ (US District Court. SD Fla.), 82 AJIL, 1988. p. 596), all mentioned and discussed by Watts (A. Watts. "The Legal Position in International Law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1994, Vol. 247, pp. 54 et seq.). See also the American 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act which amended the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). including a new exception to State immunity in case of torture for civil claims. See J. F. Murphy, "Civil Liability for the Commission of International Crimes as an Alternative to Criminal Prosecution", 12 Harvard Human Rights Journal, 1999. pp. 1 -56.
FN16 See also infra, para. 48.
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"Even if the rarity of the judicial decisions to be found among the reported cases were sufficient to prove in point of fact the circumstance alleged by the Agent for the French Government, it would merely show that States had often, in practice, abstained from instituting criminal proceedings, and not that they recognized themselves as being obliged to do so; for only if such abstention were based on their being conscious of having a duty to abstain would it be possible to speak of an international custom."FN17

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FN17"Lotus", supra, footnote 7, p. 28. For a commentary, see I. C. McGibbon, "Custom-ary International Law and Acquiescence", BYBIL, 1957. p. 129.
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[p 146]
14. In the present case, the Judgment of the International Court of Justice proceeds from a mere analogy with immunities for diplomatic agents and Heads of State. Yet, as Sir Arthur Watts observes in his lectures published in the Recueil des cows de l'Académie de droit international on the legal position in international law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers: "analogy is not always a reliable basis on which to build rules of law"FN18. Professor Joe Verhoeven, in his report on the same subject for the Instituí de droit international likewise makes the point that courts and legal writers, while comparing the different categories, usually refrain from making "a straightforward analogy"FN19.

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FN18 A. Watts. "The Legal Position in International Law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1994, Vol. 247, p. 40.
FN19 J. Verhoeven, L'immunité de juridiction et d'exécution des chefs d'Etat et ancienschefs d'Etat. Report of the 13th Commission of the Institut de droit international, p. 46,para. 18. [Translation by the Registry]
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15. There are fundamental differences between the circumstances of diplomatic agents, Heads of State and Foreign Ministers. The circumstances of diplomatic agents are comparable, but not the same as those of Foreign Ministers. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic RelationsFN20, diplomatic agents enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State. However, diplomats reside and exercise their functions on the territory of the receiving States whereas Ministers normally reside in the State where they exercise their functions. Receiving States may decide whether or not to accredit foreign diplomats and may always declare them persona non grata. Consequently, they have a "say" in what persons they accept as a representative of the other StateFN21. They do not have the same opportunity vis-á-vis Cabinet Ministers, who are appointed by their Governments as part of their sovereign prerogatives.

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FN20 Convention on Diplomatie Relations, Vienna. 18 April 1961. United Nations, TreatySeries i UNTS). Vol. 500, p. 95.
FN21 See, for example, the Danish hesitations concerning the accreditation of a newambassador for Israel in 2001, after a new government had come to power in that State:The Copenhagen Post. 29 July 2001, The Copenhagen Post, 31 July 2001, The CopenhagenPost. 24 August 2001, and "Prosecution of New Ambassador?", The Copenhagen Post, 7 November 2001 (all available on the Internet: http://cphpost.periskop.dk).
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16. Likewise, there may be an analogy between Heads of State, who probably enjoy immunity under customary international lawFN22, and Foreign Ministers. But the two cannot be assimilated for the only reason that their functions may be compared. Both represent the State, but Foreign Ministers do not "impersonate" the State in the same way as Heads of [p 147] State, who are the State's alter ego. State practice concerning immunities of (incumbent and former) Heads of StateFN23 does not, per se, apply to Foreign Ministers. There is no State practice evidencing an opinio juris on this point.

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FN22 In civil and administrative proceedings this immunity is. however, not absolute. SeeA. Watts, op. cit., pp. 36 and 54. See also supra, footnote 15.
FN23 See supra, footnotes 12 and 13.
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17. Whereas the International Law Commission (ILC), in its mission to codify and progressively develop international law, has managed to codify customary international law in the case of diplomatic and consular agentsFN24, it has not achieved the same result regarding Heads of State or Foreign Ministers. It is noteworthy that the International Law Commission's Special Rapporteur on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property, in his 1989 report, expressed the view that privileges and immunities enjoyed by Foreign Ministers are granted on the basis of comity rather than on the basis of established rules of international lawFN25. This, according to Sir Arthur Watts, may explain why doubts as to the extent of jurisdictional immunities of Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers under customary international law have survived in the final version of the International Law Commission's 1991 Draft Articles on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their PropertyFN26, which in Article 3. paragraph 2, only refer to Heads of State, not to Foreign Ministers.

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FN24 Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Vienna. 18 April 1961, UNTS, Vol. 500, p. 95, and Convention on Consular Relations. Vienna, 24 April 1963, UNTS, Vol. 596. p. 262.
FN25 Yearbook of the International Law Commission (YlLC), 1989. Vol. II (2), Part 2, para. 446.
FN26 A. Watts, op. cit., p. 107.
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In the field of the criminal law regarding international core crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, the International Law Commission clearly adopts a restrictive view on immunities, which is reflected in Article 7 of the 1996 Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind. These Articles are intended to apply, not only to international criminal courts, but also to national authorities exercising jurisdiction (Article 8 of the Draft Code) or co-operating mutually by extraditing or prosecuting alleged perpetrators of international crimes (Article 9 of the Draft Code). I will further develop this when addressing the problem of immunities for incumbent Foreign Ministers charged with war crimes and crimes against humanityFN27.

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FN27 See infra, paras. 24 et seq. and particularly para. 32.
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18. The only text of conventional international law, which may be of relevance to answer this question of the protection of Foreign Ministers, [p 148] is the 1969 Convention on Special MissionsFN28. Article 21 of this Convention clearly distinguishes between Heads of State (para. 1) and Foreign Ministers (para. 2):

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FN28 United Nations Convention on Special Missions, New York, 16 December 1969, Annex to UNGA res. 25.30 (XXIV) of 8 December 1969.
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"1. The Head of the sending State, when he leads a special mission, shall enjoy in the receiving State or in a third State the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded by international law . . .

2. The Head of the Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other persons of high rank, when they take part in a special mission of the sending State, shall enjoy in the receiving State or in a third State, in addition to what is granted by the present Conven-tion, the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded by international law."

Legal opinion is divided on the question to what extent this Convention may be considered a codification of customary international lawFN29. This Convention has not been ratified by the Parties to the dispute. It links the "facilities, privileges and immunities" of Foreign Ministers' offi-cial visits (when they take part in a special mission of the sending State). There may be some political wisdom in the proposition that a Foreign Minister should be accorded the same privileges and immunities as a Head of State, but this may be a matter of courtesy, and does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that there is a rule of customary international law to this effect. It certainly does not follow from the text of the Special Missions Convention. Applying this to the dispute between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Belgium, the only conclusion that follows from the Special Missions Convention, were it to be applicable between the two States concerned, is that an arrest warrant against an incumbent Foreign Minister cannot be enforced when he is on an official visit (immunity from execution)FN30.

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FN29 J. Salmon observes that the limited number of ratifications of the Convention can be explained because of the fact that the Convention sets all special missions on the same footing, according the same privileges and immunities to Heads of State on a official visit and to the members of an administrative commission which comes negotiating over technical issues. See J. Salmon, Manuel de droit diplomatique, 1994. p. 546.
FN30 See also infra, para. 75 (inviolability).
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19. Another international convention that mentions Foreign Ministers is the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected PersonsFN31. This Convention indeed [p 149] defines "internationally protected persons" so as to include Heads of State, Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers and other representatives of the State, and may hereby create the impression that the different categories mentioned can be assimilated (Art. 1). This assimilation, however, is not relevant for the purposes of the present dispute. The 1973 Convention is not about immunities from criminal proceedings in another State, but about the protection of the high foreign officials it enumerates when they are victims of certain acts of terrorism such as murder, kidnapping or other attacks on their person or liberty (Art. 2). It is not about procedural protections for these persons when they are themselves accused of being perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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FN31 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, New York, 14 December 1973, 78 (JNTS. p. 277.
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20. There is hardly any support in legal doctrine for the International Court of Justice's postulated analogy between Foreign Ministers and Heads of State on the subject of immunities. Oppenheim and Lauterpacht write: "members of a Government have not the exceptional position of Heads of States . . ,"FN32. This view is shared by A. CavaglieriFN33, P. CahierFN34, J. SalmonFN35, B. S. MurtyFN36 and J. S. de Erice y O'SheaFN37.

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FN32 L. Oppenheim and H. Lauterpacht (eds.). International Law, a Treatise, Vol. I, 1955, p. 358. See also the Ninth (1992) Edition (Jennings and Watts, eds.) at p. 1046.
FN33 A. Cavaglieri. Corso di Diritto Internazionale, 2nd ed., pp. 321-322.
FN34 P. Cahier, Le droit diplomatique contemporain, 1962, pp. 359-360.
FN35 J. Salmon. Manuel de droit diplomatique. 1994, p. 539.
FN36 B. S. Murty, The International Law of Diplomacy: The Diplomatic Instrument and World Public Order, 1989, pp. 333-334.
FN37 J. S. de Erice y O'Shea. Derecho Diplomatico, 1954, pp. 377-378.
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Sir Arthur Watts is adamant in observing that principle "suggests that a head of government or foreign minister who visits another State for official purposes is immune from legal process while there"FN38. Commenting further on the question of "private visits", he writes:

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FN38A.Watts, op.cit., p.106 (emphasis added.). See also p.54:
"So far as concerns criminal proceedings, a Head of State's immunity is generally accepted as being absolute, as it is for ambassadors, and as provided in Article 31(1) of the Convention on Special Missions for Heads of States coming within its scope." (Emphasis added.)
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"Although it may well be that a Head of State, when on a private visit to another State, still enjoys certain privileges and immunities, it is much less likely that the same is true of heads of governments and foreign ministers. Although they may be accorded certain spe-cial treatment by the host State, this is more likely to be a matter of [p 150] courtesy and respect for the seniority of the visitor, than a reflection of any belief that such a treatment is required by international law."FN39

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FN39 A. Watts, op. cit., p. 109.
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21. More recently, the Institut de droit international, at its 2001 Vancouver session, addressed the question of the immunity of Heads of State and Heads of Government. The draft resolution explicitly assimilated Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers with Heads of State in Article 14, entitled "Le Chef de gouvernement et le ministre des Affaires étrangères". This draft Article does not appear in the final version of the Institut de droit international resolution. The final resolution only mentions Heads of Government, not Foreign Ministers. The least one can conclude from this difference between the draft resolution and the final text is that the distinguished members of the Institut considered but did not decide to place Foreign Ministers on the same footing as Heads of StateFN40.

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FN40 See the Report of J. Verhoeven, supra, footnote 19 (draft resolutions) and the finalresolutions adopted at the Vancouver meeting on 26 August 2001 (publication in theYearbook of the Institute forthcoming). See further H. Fox, "The Resolution of the Insti-tute of International Law on the Immunities of Heads of State and Government", 51ICLQ, 2002, pp. 119-125.

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The reasons behind the final version of the resolution are not clear. It may or may not reflect the Institut de droit international's view that there is no customary international law rule that assimilates Heads of State and Foreign Ministers. Whatever may be the Institut de droit interna-tional's reasons, it was a wise decision. Proceeding to assimilations of the kind proposed in the draft resolution would dramatically increase the number of persons that enjoy international immunity from jurisdiction. There would be a potential for abuse. Male fide Governments could appoint suspects of serious human rights violations to cabinet posts in order to shelter them from prosecution in third States.

22. Victims of such violations bringing legal action against such persons in third States would face the obstacle of immunity from jurisdiction. Today, they may, by virtue of the application of the principle contained in Article 21 of the 1969 Special Missions ConventionFN41, face the obstacle of immunity from execution while the Minister is on an official visit, but they would not be barred from bringing an action altogether. Taking immunities further than this may even lead to conflict with inter-[p 151]national human rights rules as appears from the recent Al-Adsani case of the European Court of Human RightsFN42.

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FN41 Supra, para. 18.
FN42 ECHR. Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom, 21 November 2001, http://www.echr.coe.int. In that case, the Applicant, a Kuwaiti/British national, claimed to have been the victim of serious human rights violations (torture) in Kuwait by agents of the Government of Kuwait. In the United Kingdom, he complained about the fact that he had been denied access to court in Britain because the courts refused to entertain his complaint on the basis of the 1978 State Immunity Act. Previous cases before the ECHR had usually arisen from human rights violations committed on the territory of the respondent State and related to acts of torture allegedly committed by the authorities of the respondent State itself, not by the authorities of third States. Therefore, the question of international immunities did not arise. In the Al-Adsani case, the alleged human rights violation was committed abroad, by authorities of another State and so the question of immunity did arise. The ECHR (with a 9/8 majority), has rejected Mr. Al-Adsani's application and held that there has been no violation of Article 6. paragraph 1, of the Convention (right of access to court). However, the decision was reached with a narrow majority (9/8 and 8 dissenting opinions) and was itself very narrow: it only decided the question of immunities in a civil proceeding, leaving the question as to the application of immunities in a criminal proceeding unanswered. Dissenting judges, Judges Rozakis and Caflisch joined by Judges Wildhaber, Costa, Cabral Barreto and Vajic and also Loucaides read the decision of the majority as implying that the court would have found a violation had the proceedings in the United Kingdom been criminal proceedings against an individual for an alleged act of torture (paragraph 60 of the judgment, as interpreted by the dissenting judges in paragraph 4 of their opinion).
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23. I conclude that the International Court of Justice, by deciding that incumbent Foreign Ministers enjoy full immunity from foreign criminal jurisdiction (Judgment, para. 54), has reached a conclusion which has no basis in positive international law. Before reaching this conclusion, the Court should have satisfied itself of the existence of usus and opinio juris. There is neither State practice nor opinio juris establishing an international custom to this effect. There is no treaty on the subject and there is no legal opinion in favour of this proposition. The Court's conclusion is reached without regard to the general tendency toward the restriction of immunity of the State officials (including even Heads of State), not only in the field of private and commercial law where the par in parem principle has become more and more restricted and deprived of its mys-tiqueFN43, but also in the field of criminal law, when there are allegations of serious international crimesFN44. Belgium may have acted contrary to international comity, but has not infringed international law. The Judgment is therefore based on flawed reasoning.

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FN43 Supra, footnote 22.
FN44 Infra, paras. 24 et seq.
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[p 152]

2. Incumbent Foreign Ministers Are Not Immune from the Jurisdiction of Other States When Charged with War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

24. On the subject of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Court reaches the following decision: it holds that it is unable to decide that there exists under customary international law any form of exception to the rule according immunity from criminal process and inviolability to incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs, where they are suspected of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity (Judgment, para. 58, first subparagraph).

It goes on by observing that there is nothing in the rules concerning the immunity or the criminal responsibility of persons having an official capacity contained in the legal instruments creating international criminal tribunals that enables it to find that such an exception exists under customary international law before national criminal tribunals (Judgment, para. 58, second subparagraph).

This immunity, it concludes, "remain[s] opposable before the courts of a foreign State, even where those courts exercise such a jurisdiction under these conventions" (Judgment, para. 59 in fine).

25. I strongly disagree with these propositions. To start with, as set out above, the Court starts from a flawed premise, assuming that incumbent Foreign Ministers enjoy full immunity from jurisdiction under customary international law. This premise taints the rest of the reasoning. It leads to another flaw in the reasoning: in order to "counterbalance" the postulated customary international law rule of "full immunity", there needs to be evidence of another customary international law rule that would negate the first rule. It would need to be established that the principle of international accountability has also reached the status of customary international law. The Court finds no evidence for the existence of such a rule in the limited sources it considersFN45 and concludes that there is a violation of the first rule, the rule of immunity.

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FN45 In paragraph 58 of the Judgment, the Court only refers to instruments that are relevant for international criminal tribunals (the statutes of the Nuremberg and the Tokyo tribunals, statutes of the ad hoc criminal tribunals and the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court). But there are also other instruments that are of relevance, and that refer to the jurisdiction of national tribunals. A prominent example is Control Council Law No. 10. Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes. Crimes against Peace and against Humanity, Official Gazette of the Control Council for Germany, No. 3, Berlin. 31 January 1946. See also Article 7 of the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind.
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26. Immunity from criminal process, the International Court of Justice emphasizes, does not mean the impunity of a Foreign Minister for crimes that he may have committed, however serious they may be. It goes [p 153] on by making two points showing its adherence to this principle: (a) jurisdictional immunity, being procedural in nature, is not the same as criminal responsibility, which is a question of substantive law and the person to whom jurisdictional immunity applies is not exonerated from all criminal responsibility (Judgment, para. 60); (b) immunities enjoyed by an incumbent Foreign Minister under international law do not represent a bar to criminal prosecution in four sets of circumstances, which the Court further examines (Judgment, para. 61).

This is a highly unsatisfactory rebuttal of the arguments in favour of international accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity, which moreover disregards the higher order of the norms that belong to the latter category. I will address both points in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, below. Before doing so, I wish to make a general comment on the approach of the Court.

27. Apart from being wrong in law, the Court is wrong for another reason. The more fundamental problem lies in its general approach, that disregards the whole recent movement in modern international criminal law towards recognition of the principle of individual accountability for international core crimes. The Court does not completely ignore this, but it takes an extremely minimalist approach by adopting a very narrow interpretation of the "no immunity clauses" in international instruments.

Yet, there are many codifications of this principle in various sources of law, including the Nuremberg PrinciplesFN46 and Article IV of the Genocide ConventionFN47. In addition, there are several United Nations resolu-[p 154]tionsFN48 and reportsFN49 on the subject of international accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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FN46 Nuremberg Principles, Geneva, 29 July 1950. Official Records of the GeneralAssembly, Fifth Session, Supplement No. 12, United Nations doc. A/1316 (1950).
FN47 Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of the Crime of Genocide. Paris.9 December 1948. UNTS, Vol. 78, p. 277. See also Art. 7 of the Nuremberg Charter(Charter of the International Military Tribunal, London, 8 August 1945. UNTS, Vol. 82,p. 279); Art. 6 of the Tokyo Charter (Charter of the Military Tribunal for the Far East.Tokyo, 19 January 1946. TIAS. No. 1589); Art. II (4) of the Control Council Law No. 10(Control Council Law No. 10. Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes, Crimes against Peace and against Humanity, Berlin, 20 December 1945, Official Gazette of the Control Council for Germany, No. 3. Berlin, 31 January 1946); Art. 7. para. 2. of the ICTY Statute (Statute of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. New York, 25 May 1993. ILM, 1993. p. 1192); Art. 6. para. 2. of the 1CTR Statute (Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, New York, 8 November 1994, ILM, 1994,p. 1598); Art. 7 of the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind (Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind. Geneva,5 July 1996, YILC 1996, Vol. II (2)); and Art. 27 of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court (Statute of the International Criminal Court, Rome, 17 July 1998, ILM.1998, p. 999).
FN48 See, for example, Sub-Commission on Human Rights, res. 2000/24. Role of Universal or Extraterritorial Competence in Preventive Action against Impunity, 18 August 2000, E/CN.4/SUB.2/RES/2000/24: Commission on Human Rights, res. 2000/68. Impunitv, 26 April 2000. E/CN.4/RES/2000/68; Commission on Human Rights, res. 2000/70, Impunity, 25 April 2001. E/CN.4/RES/2000/70 (taking note of Sub-Commission res. 2000/24).
FN49 Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, The Administration of Justice and the Human Rights of Detainees, Question of the Impunity of Perpetrators of Human Rights Violations ( Civil and Political), Revised final report prepared hv Mr. Joinet pursuant to Sub-Commission decision 19961119, 2 October 1997, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/20/Rev.l ; Commission on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of: Independence of the Judiciary. Administration of Justice, Impunity, the Right to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. M. Cherif Bassiouni, submitted in accordance with Commission res. ¡999133, E/CN.4/2000/62.
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In legal doctrine, there is a plethora of recent scholarly writings on the subjectFN50. Major scholarly organizations, including the International Law AssociationFN51 and the Institut de droit international have adopted resolutionsFN52 and newly established think tanks, such as the drafters of the "Princeton principles"FN53 and of the "Cairo principles"FN54 have made state-ments on the issue. Advocacy organizations, such as Amnesty InternationalFN55, Avocats sans FrontièresFN56, Human Rights Watch, The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and the Interna-[p 155]tional Commission of JuristsFN57, have taken clear positions on the subject of international accountabilityFN58. This may be seen as the opinion of civil society, an opinion that cannot be completely discounted in the formation of customary international law today. In several cases, civil society organizations have set in motion a process that ripened into international conventionsFN59. Well-known examples are the 1968 Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against HumanityFN60, which can be traced back to efforts of the International Association of Penal Law, the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, probably triggered by Amnesty International's Campaign against Torture, the 1997 Treaty banning landminesFN61, to which the International Campaign to Ban Landmines gave a considerable impetusFN62 and the 1998 Statute for the International Criminal Court, which was promoted by a coalition of non-governmental organizations.

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FN50 See infra, footnote 98.
FN51 International Law Association (Committee on International Human Rights Law and Practice). Final Report on the Exercise of Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences, 2000.
FN52 See also the Institut de droit international's Resolution of Santiago de Compostela. 13 September 1989, commented by G. Sperduti. "Protection of Human Rights and the Principle of Non-intervention in the Domestic Concerns of States. Rapport provisoire". Yearbook of the Institute of International Law, Session of Santiago de Compostela. 1989, Vol. 63, Part I, pp. 309-351.
FN53 Princeton Project on Universal Jurisdiction, The Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction, 23 July 2001. with a foreword by Mary Robinson. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, http://www.princeton.edu/~lapa/univeJur.pdf. SeeM. C. Bassiouni, "Universal Jurisdiction for International Crimes: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Practice". Virginia Journal of International Law, 2001. Vol. 42.pp. 1-100.
FN54 Africa Legal Aid (AFLA), Preliminary Draft of the Cairo Guiding Principles on Uni-versal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences: An Apr icon Perspective, Cairo, 31 July 2001, http://www.afla.unimaas.nl/en/act/univjurisd/preliminaryprinciples.htm.
FN55 Amnesty International. Universal Jurisdiction. The Duty of States to Enact and Implement Legislation, September 2001, AI Index IOR 53/200J.
FN56 Avocats sans frontières, "Débat sur la loi relative à la répression des violationsgraves de droit international humanitaire", discussion paper of 14 October 2001, available on http://www.asf.be.
FN57 K. Roth, "The Case for Universal Jurisdiction". Foreign Affairs, September/October 2001. responding to an article written by an ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs in the same review (Henry Kissinger. "The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction", Foreign Affairs, July/August 2001).
FN58 See the joint Press Report of Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues and the International Commission of Jurists. "Rights Group Supports Belgium's Universal Jurisdiction Law", 16 November 2000. available athttp://www.hrw.Org/press/2000/l 1 /world-court.htm or http://www.icj.org/press/press01/english/belgiuml 1 .htm. See also the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross in promoting the adoption of international instruments on international humanitarian law and its support of national implementation efforts (http://www.icrc.org/eng/advisory_service_ihl: http ://www.icrc.org/eng/ihl).
FN59 M. C. Bassiouni. "Universal Jurisdiction for International Crimes: Historical Per-spectives and Contemporary Practice", Virginia Journal of International Law. 2001, Vol. 42. p. 92.
FN60 Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. New York, 26 November 1968, ILM, 1969. p. 68.
FN61 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Oslo, 18 September 1997. ILM, 1997, p. 1507.
FN62 The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is a coalition of non-govern-mental organizations, with Handicap International. Human Rights Watch, Medico Inter-national, Mines Advisory Group. Physicians for Human Rights and Vietnam Veterans ofAmerica Foundation as founding members.
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28. The Court fails to acknowledge this development, and does not discuss the relevant sources. Instead, it adopts a formalistic reasoning, examining whether there is, under customary international law, an international crimes exception to the — wrongly postulated — rule of immunity for incumbent Ministers under customary international law (Judgment, para. 58). By adopting this approach, the Court implicitly establishes a hierarchy between the rules on immunity (protecting incumbent [p 156] Foreign Ministers) and the rules on international accountability (calling for the investigation of charges against incumbent Foreign Ministers charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity).

By elevating the former rules to the level of customary international law in the first part of its reasoning, and finding that the latter have failed to reach the same status in the second part of its reasoning, the Court does not need to give further consideration to the status of the principle of international accountability under international law. As a result, the Court does not further examine the status of the principle of international accountability. Other courts, for example the House of Lords in the Pinochet caseFN63 and the European Court of Human Rights in the Al-Adsani caseFN64, have given more thought and consideration to the balancing of the relative normative status of international jus cogens crimes and immunities.

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FN63 R. v. Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and Others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte, 24 March 1999, [1999] 2 All ER 97, HL.
FN64 Al-Adsani case: ECHR, Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom, 21 November 2001, http ://www.echr.coe.int.
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Questions concerning international accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity and that were not addressed by the International Court of Justice include the following. Can international accountability for such crimes be considered to be a general principle of law in the sense of Article 38 of the Court's Statute? Should the Court, in reaching its conclusion that there is no international crimes exception to immunities under international law, not have given more consideration to the factor that war crimes and crimes against humanity have, by many, been considered to be customary international law crimesFN65? Should it not have considered the proposition of writers who suggest that war crimes and crimes against humanity are jus cogens crimesFN66, which, if it were correct, would only enhance the contrast between the status of the rules punishing these crimes and the rules protecting suspects on the [p 157] ground of immunities for incumbent Foreign Ministers, which are probably not part of jus cogensFN67.

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FN65 See: American Law Institute. Restatement of the Law Third. The Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Vol. 1. para. 404, Comment; M. C. Bassiouni, Crimes against Humanity in International Criminal Law, 1999; T. Meron, Human Rights and Humani-tarian Norms as Customary Law, 1989; T. Meron, "International Criminalization of Internal Atrocities", 89 AJIL, 1995, p. 558; A. H. .1. Swart, De berechting van internationale misdrijven, 1996, p. 7; ICTY, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, 2 October 1995, Tadie, paras. 96-127 and 134 (common Article 3).
FN66 M. C. Bassiouni. "International Crimes: Jus Cogens and Obligatio Erga Omne.C 59Law and Contemporary Problems, 1996. Issue 4, pp. 63-74; M. C. Bassiouni. Crimesagainst Humanity in International Criminal Law, 1999, pp. 210-217; C. J. R. Dugard, Opinion in: Re Bouterse, para. 4.5.5, to be consulted at: http://www.icj.org/objectives/
opinion.htm; K. C. Randall, "Universal Jurisdiction under International Law", 66 Texas Law Review, 1988, pp. 829-832; ICTY, Judgment, 10 December 1998. Furundzija, para. 153 (torture).
FN67 See the conclusion of Professor .1. Verhoeven in his Vancouver report for the Institut de droit international, supra, footnote 19. p. 70.
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Having made these general introductory observations, I will now turn to the two specific propositions of the International Court of Justice referred to above, i.e., the distinction between substantive and procedural defences and the idea that immunities are not a bar to prosecutionFN68.

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FN68 See also supra, para. 26.
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(a) The distinction between immunity as a procedural defence and immunity as a substantive defence is not relevant for the purposes of this dispute

29. The distinction between jurisdictional immunity and criminal responsibility of course exists in all legal systems in the world, but is not an argument in support of the proposition that incumbent Foreign Ministers cannot be subject to the jurisdiction of other States when they are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. There are a host of sources, including the 1948 Genocide ConventionFN69, the 1996 International Law Commission's Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of MankindFN70, the Statutes of the ad hoc international criminal tribunalsFN71 and the Rome Statute for an International Criminal CourtFN72. All these sources confirm the proposition contained in the Principle 3 of the Nuremberg principlesFN73 which states:

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FN69 Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of the Crime of Genocide. Paris. 9 December 1948, UN TS. Vol. 78. p. 277.
FN70 Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, Report of theInternational Law Commission, 1996, United Nations doc. A/51/10, p. 59.
FN71 Statute of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, New York, 25 May 1993. ILM, 1993. p. 1192: Statute of the International tribunal for Rwanda. 8 November 1994. ILM, 1994, p. 1598.
FN72 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Rome. 17 July 1998. ILM. 1998, p. 999.
FN73 Supra, footnote 46.
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'The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

30. The Congo argued that these sources only address substantive immunities, not procedural immunities and that therefore they offer no exception to the principle that incumbent Foreign Ministers are immune from the jurisdiction of other States. Although some authorities seem to
[p 158] support this viewFN74, most authorities do not mention the distinction at all and even reject it.

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FN74 See. for example. Principle 5 of The Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction. The Commentary states that "There is an extremely important distinction, however, between 'substantive' and 'procedural' immunity", but goes on by saying that "None of these statutes [Nuremberg, ICTY, ICTR] addresses the issue of procedural immunity", pp. 48-51 (supra, footnote 53).
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31. Principle 3 of the Nuremberg principles (and the subsequent codifications of this principle), in addition to addressing the issue of (procedural or substantive) immunities, deals with the attribution of criminal acts to individuals. International crimes are indeed not committed by abstract entities, but by individuals who, in many cases, may act on behalf of the StateFN75. Sir Arthur Watts very pertinently writes:

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FN75 See the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals, Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, Vol. 22, p. 466, "Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced."
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"States are artificial legal persons: they can only act through the institutions and agencies of the State, which means, ultimately, through its officials and other individuals acting on behalf of the State. For international conduct which is so serious as to be tainted with criminality to be regarded as attributable only to the impersonal State and not to the individuals who ordered or perpetrated it is both unrealistic and offensive to common notions of justice."FN76

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FN76 A. Watts, "The Legal Position in International Law of Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit interna-tional de La Haye. 19947 vol. 247, p. 82.
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At the heart of Principle 3 is the debate about individual versus State responsibility, not the discussion about the procedural or substantive nature of the protection for government officials. This can only mean that, where international crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity are concerned, immunity cannot block investigations or prosecutions to such crimes, regardless of whether such proceedings are brought before national or before international courts.

32. Article 7 of the International Law Commission's 1996 Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of MankindFN77, which is intended to apply to both national and international criminal courts, only confirms this interpretation. In its Commentary to this Article, the International Law Commission states:

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FN77 See also supra, para. 17.
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"The absence of any procedural immunity with respect to [p 159]prosecution or punishment in appropriate judicial proceedings is an essential corollary of the absence of any substantive immunity or defence. It would be paradoxical to prevent an individual from invoking his official position to avoid responsibility for a crime only to permit him to invoke this same consideration to avoid the consequences of this responsibility."FN78

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FN78 Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, Report of the International Law Commission, 1996, United Nations doc. A/51/10, p. 41.
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33. In adopting the view that the non-impunity clauses in the relevant international instruments only address substantive, not procedural immunities, the International Court of Justice has adopted a purely doctrinal proposition, which is not based on customary or conventional interna-tional law or on national practice and which is not supported by a substantial part of legal doctrine. It is particularly unfortunate that the International Court of Justice adopts this position without giving reasons.

(b) The Court's proposition that immunity does not necessarily lead to impunity is wrong

34. I now turn to the Court's proposition that immunities protecting an incumbent Foreign Minister under international law are not a bar to criminal prosecution in certain circumstances, which the Court enumerates. The Court mentions four cases where an incumbent or former Min-ister for Foreign Affairs can, despite his immunities under customary international law, be prosecuted: (1) he can be prosecuted in his own country; (2) he can be prosecuted in other States if the State whom he represents waives immunity; (3) he can be prosecuted after he ceases being a Minister for Foreign Affairs; and (4) he can be prosecuted before an international court (Judgment, para. 61).

In theory, the Court may be right: immunity and impunity are not synonymous and the two concepts should therefore not be conflated. In practice, however, immunity leads to de facto impunity. All four cases mentioned by the Court are highly hypothetical.

35. Prosecution in the first two cases presupposes a willingness of the State which appointed the person as a Foreign Minister to investigate and prosecute allegations against him domestically or to lift immunity in order to allow another State to do the same.

This, however, is the core of the problem of impunity: where national authorities are not willing or able to investigate or prosecute, the crime [p 160] goes unpunished. And this is precisely what happened in the case of Mr. Yerodia. The Congo accused Belgium of exercising universal juris-diction in absentia against an incumbent Foreign Minister, but it had itself omitted to exercise its jurisdiction in presentía in the case of Mr. Yerodia, thus infringing the Geneva Conventions and not complying with a host of United Nations resolutions to this effectFN79.

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FN79 Supra, footnotes 48 and 49.
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The Congo was ill placed when accusing Belgium of exercising universal jurisdiction in the case of Mr. Yerodia. If the Congo had acted appropriately, by investigating charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Mr. Yerodia in the Congo, there would have been no need for Belgium to proceed with the case. Belgium repeatedly declared, and again emphasized in its opening and closing statementsFN80 before the Court, that it had tried to transfer the dossier to the Congo, in order to have the case investigated and prosecuted by the authorities of the Congo. Nowhere does the Congo mention thai it has investigated the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Mr. Yerodia. Counsel for the Congo even perceived this Belgian initiative as an improper pressure on the CongoFN81, as if it were adding insult to injury.

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FN80 CR 2001/8, para. 5; CR 2001/11, paras. 3 and 11.
FN81 CR 2001/10, p. 7.
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The Congo did not come to the Court with clean handsFN82. In blaming Belgium for investigating and prosecuting allegations of international crimes that it was obliged to investigate and prosecute itself, the Congo acts in bad faith. It pretends to be offended and morally injured by Belgium by suggesting that Belgium's exercise of "excessive universal jurisdiction" (Judgment, para. 42) was incompatible with its dignity. However, as Sir Hersch Lauterpacht observed in 1951, "the dignity of a foreign state may suffer more from an appeal to immunity than from a [p 161] denial of it"FN83. The International Court of Justice should at least have made it explicit that the Congo should have taken up the matter itself.

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FN82 G. Fitzmaurice, "The General Principles of International Law Considered from the Standpoint of the Rule of Law". Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1957, Vol. 92, p. 119 writes:
"'He who comes to equity for relief must come with clean hands.' Thus a State which is guilty of illegal conduct may be deprived of the necessary locus standi in judicio for complaining of corresponding illegalities on the part of other States, especially if these were consequential on or were embarked upon in order to counter its own illegality — in short were provoked by it."
See also S. M. Sehwebel, "Clean Hands in the Court", in E. Brown Weiss et al. (eds.). The World Bank, International Financial Institutions, and the Development of International Law, 1999, pp. 74-78, and Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1986, dissenting opinion of Judge Sehwebel, pp. 382-384 and 392-394.
FN83 H. Lauterpacht. "The Problem of Jurisdictional Immunities of Foreign States". 28 B YBIL, 1951, p. 232.
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36. The third case mentioned by the Court in support of its proposition that immunity does not necessarily lead to impunity is where the person has ceased to be a Foreign Minister (Judgment, para. 61, "Thirdly"). In that case, he or she will no longer enjoy all of the immunities accorded by international law in other States. The Court adds that the lifting of full immunity, in this case, is only for "acts committed prior or subsequent to his or her period of office". For acts committed during that period of office, immunity is only lifted "for acts committed during that period of office in a private capacity". Whether war crimes and crimes against humanity fall into this category the Court does not sayFN84.

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FN84 See also paragraph 55 of the Judgment, where the Court says that, from the perspective of his "full immunity", no distinction can be drawn between acts performed by a
Minister for Foreign Affairs in an "official capacity" and those claimed to have been performed in a "private capacity".
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It is highly regrettable that the International Court of Justice has not, like the House of Lords in the Pinochet case, qualified this statementFN85. It could and indeed should have added that war crimes and crimes against humanity can never fall into this category. Some crimes under interna-tional law (e.g., certain acts of genocide and of aggression) can, for practical purposes, only be committed with the means and mechanisms of a State and as part of a State policy. They cannot, from that perspective, be anything other than "official" acts. Immunity should never apply to crimes under international law, neither before international courts nor national courts. I am in full agreement with the statement of Lord Steyn in the first Pinochet case, where he observed that:

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FN85 See supra, footnotes 12 and 13.
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"It follows that when Hitler ordered the 'final solution' his act must be regarded as an official act deriving from the exercise of his functions as Head of State. That is where the reasoning of the Divisional Court inexorably leads."FN86

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FN86 R. v. Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and Others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte, 25 November 1998, [1998] 4 All ER 897, p. 945.
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The International Court of Justice should have made it clearer that its [p 162] Judgment can never lead to this conclusion and that such acts can never be covered by immunity.

37. The fourth case of "non-impunity" envisaged by the Court is that incumbent or former Foreign Ministers can be prosecuted before "certain international criminal courts, where they have jurisdiction" (Judgment, para. 61, "Fourthly").

The Court grossly overestimates the role an international criminal court can play in cases where the State on whose territory the crimes were committed or whose national is suspected of the crime are not willing to prosecute. The current ad hoc international criminal tribunals would only have jurisdiction over incumbent Foreign Ministers accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in so far as the charges would emerge from a situation for which they are competent, i.e., the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the conflict in Rwanda.

The jurisdiction of an International Criminal Court, set up by the Rome Statute, is moreover conditioned by the principle of complementarity: primary responsibility for adjudicating war crimes and crimes against humanity lies with the States. The International Criminal Court will only be able to act if States which have jurisdiction are unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out investigation or prosecution (Art. 17 ).

And even where such willingness exists, the International Criminal Court, like the ad hoc international tribunals, will not be able to deal with all crimes that come under its jurisdiction. The International Criminal Court will not have the capacity for that, and there will always be a need for States to investigate and prosecute core crimesFN87. These States include, but are not limited to, national and territorial States. Especially in the case of sham trials, there will still be a need for third States to investigate and prosecuteFN88.

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FN87 See for example the trial of four Rwandan citizens by a Criminal Court in Brussels: Cour d'assises de l'arrondissement administratif de Bruxelles-capitale, arrêt du
8 juin 2001, not published.
FN88 See also infra, para. 65.
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Not all international crimes will be justiciable before the permanent International Criminal Court. It will only be competent to try cases arising from criminal behaviour occurring after the entry into force of the Rome Statute. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether certain acts of international terrorism or certain gross human rights violations in non-international armed conflicts would come under the jurisdiction of the Court. Professor Tomuschat has rightly observed that it would be a "fatal mistake" to assert that, in the absence of an international criminal [p 163] court having jurisdiction, Heads of State and Foreign Ministers suspected of such crimes would only be justiciable in their own States, and nowhere elseFN89.

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FN89 C. Tomuschat, Intervention at the Institut de droit international's meeting in Vancouver, August 2001, commenting on the draft resolution on Immunities from Jurisdiction and Execution of Heads of State and of Government in International Law, and giving the example of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: Report of the 13th Commission of the Institut de droit international, Vancouver, 2001, p. 94; see further supra, footnote 19 and corresponding text.
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38. My conclusion on this point is the following: the Court's arguments in support of its proposition that immunity does not, in fact, amount to impunity, are very unconvincing.

3. Conclusion

39. My general conclusion on the question of immunityFN90 is as follows: the immunity of an incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs, if any, is not based on customary international law but at most on international comity. It certainly is not "full" or absolute and does not apply to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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FN90 On the subject of inviolability, see infra, para. 75.
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III. Universal Jurisdiction

40. Initially, when the Congo introduced its request for the indication of a provisional measure in 2000, the dispute addressed two questions: (a) universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity; and (b) immunities for incumbent Foreign Ministers charged with such crimes (see Judgment, paras. 1 and 42). In the proceedings on the merits in 2001, the Congo reduced its case to the second point only (see Judgment, paras. 10-12), with no objection from Belgium, which even asked the Court not to judge ultra petita (Judgment, para. 41). The Court could, for that reason, not have made a ruling on the question of universal jurisdiction in general.

41. For their own reasons, the Parties thus invited the International Court of Justice to short-cut its decision and to address the question of the immunity from jurisdiction only. The Court, conceding that, as a matter of logic, the second ground should be addressed only once there has been a determination in respect of the first, nevertheless decided to address the second question only. It addressed this question assuming, for the purposes of its reasoning, that Belgium had jurisdiction under international law to issue and circulate the arrest warrant (Judgment, para. 46 in fine). [p 164]

42. While the Parties did not request a general ruling, they nevertheless developed extensive arguments on the subject of (universal) jurisdiction. The International Court of Justice, though it was not asked to rule on this point in its dispositif could and should nevertheless have addressed this question as part of its reasoning. It confines itself to observing "jurisdiction does not imply absence of immunity, while absence of immunity does not imply jurisdiction" (Judgment, para. 59, first sentence). It goes on by observing that various international conventions impose an obligation on States either to extradite or to prosecute, "requiring them to extend their criminal jurisdiction", but immediately adds that "such extension of jurisdiction in no way affects immunities under customary international law, including those of Ministers for Foreign Affairs" (Judgment, para. 59, second sentence).

Adopting this narrow perspective, the Court does, again, not need to look at instruments giving effect to the principle of international accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet most of the arguments of either Party to this dispute were based on these instruments. By not touching the subject of (universal) jurisdiction at all, the Court did not reply to these arguments and leaves the questions unanswered. I wish to briefly address them here.

43. The Congo accused Belgium of the "exercise of an excessive universal jurisdiction" (Judgment, para. 42; emphasis added) because, apart from infringing the rules on international immunities, Belgium's legislation on universal jurisdiction can be applied regardless of the presence of the offender on Belgian territory. This flows from Article 7 of the Belgian Act concerning the Punishment of Grave Breaches of International Humanitarian Law (hereinafter 1993/1999 Act)FN91. The Congo found that this was excessive because Belgium in fact exercised its jurisdiction in [p 165] absentia by issuing the arrest warrant of 11 September 2000 in the absence of Mr. Yerodia.

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FN91 Loi du 16 juin 1993 relative à la répression des violations graves du droit international humanitaire. Moniteur belge, 5 August 1993, as amended by Loi du 10 février 1999, Moniteur belge, 23 March 1999; an English translation has been published in ILM, 1999, pp. 921-925. See generally: A. Andries, C. Van den Wyngaeit, E. David, and J. Verhaegen, "Commentaire de la loi du 16 juin 1993 relative à la répression des infractions graves du droit international humanitaire", Rev. dr. pén., 1994, pp. 1114-1184; E. David, "La loi belge sur les crimes de guerre", 28 RBDI, 1995. pp. 668-684; P. d'Argent, "La loi du 10 février 1999 relative à la répression des violations graves du droit international humanitaire", 118 Journal des tribunaux, 1999. pp. 549-555; L. Reydams. "Universal Jurisdiction over Atrocities in Rwanda: Theory and Practice", European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. 1996. pp. 18-47; D. Vandermeersch, "La répression en droit belge des crimes de droit international". 68 RIDP. 1997, pp. 1093-1135; D. Vandermeersch, "Les poursuites et le jugement des infractions de droit international humanitaire en droit belge", in D. H. Bosly et ai. Actualité du droit international humanitaire. 2001, pp. 123-180; J. Verhoeven, "Vers un ordre répressif universel? Quelques observations". Annuaire français de droit international, 1999, pp. 55-71.
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To this accusation, Belgium answered it was entitled to assert jurisdiction in the present case because international law does not prohibit and even permits States to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

44. There is no generally accepted definition of universal jurisdiction in conventional or customary international law. States that have incorporated the principle in their domestic legislation have done so in very different waysFN92. Although there are many examples of States exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction for international crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity and torture, it may often be on other jurisdictional grounds such as the nationality of the victim. A prominent example was the Eiehmann case which was in fact based not on universal jurisdiction but on passive personalityFN93. In the Spanish Pinochet case, an important connecting factor was the Spanish nationality of some of the victimsFN94. Likewise, in the case against Mr. Yerodia, some of the complainants were of Belgian nationalityFN95, even if there were, apparently, no Belgian nationals that were victimsFN96 of the violence that allegedly resulted [p 166] from the hate speeches of which Mr. Yerodia was suspected (Judgment, para. 15)FN97.

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FN92 For a survey of the implementation of the principle of universal jurisdiction for international crimes in different countries, see, inter alia: Amnesty International, Universal Jurisdiction. The Duty of States to Enact and Implement Legislation, September 2001, AI Index IOR 53/2001 ; International Law Association (Committee on International Human Rights Law and Practice), Final Report on the Exercise of Universal Jurisdiction in Respect of Gross Human Rights Offences, Ann., 2000; Redress, Universal Jurisdiction in Europe. Criminal Prosecutions in Europe since 1990 for War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Torture and Genocide, 30 June 1999: http://www.redress.org/inpract.html; see also "Crimes internationaux et juridictions nationales" 1o be published by the Presses universitaires de France (in print).
FN93 Attorney-General of the Government of Israel v. Eichmann. 36 ILR, 1961 p. 5. See also US v. Yunis (No. 2), District Court, DC, 12 February 1988, 82 ILR, 1990, p. 343; Court of Appeals, DC, 29 January 1991, ILM, 1991. Vol. 3, p. 403.
FN94 Audiencia Nacional, Auto de la Sala de lo Penal de la Audiencia Nacional confir-mando la jurisdicción de España para conocer de los crímenes de genocidio y terrorismocometidos durante la dictadura chilena, 5 November 1998, http://www.derechos.org/
nizkor/chile/juicio/audi.html. See also M. Márquez Carrasco and J. A. Fernandez, "Spanish National Court. Criminal Division (Plenary Session). Case 19/97. 4 Nov. 1998, Case 1/98, 5 Nov. 1998", AJIL, 1999, pp. 690-696.
FN95 CR 2001/8, p. 16.
FN96 Some confusion arose over the difference between the notion of "victim" and the notion of "complainant" (partie civile). Belgian law does not provide an actio papillaris, but only allows victims and their relatives to trigger criminal investigations through the procedure of a formal complaint (constitution de partie civile). On the Belgian system, see C. Van den Wyngaert, "Belgium", in C. Van den Wyngaert et al. (eds.), Criminal Procedure Systems in the Member States of the European Community, 1993.
FN97 The notion "victim" is wider than the direct victim of the crime only, and also includes indirect victims (e.g. the relatives of the assassinated person in the case of murder). Moreover, for crimes such as those with which Mr. Yerodia has been charged (incitement to war crimes and crimes against humanity), death or injury of the (direct) victim is not a constituent element of the crime. Not only those who were effectively killed or injured after the alleged hate speeches are victims, but all persons against whom the incitements were directed, including the victims of Belgian nationality who brought the case before the Belgian investigating judge by lodging a constitution de partie civile action. By focusing on the victims of the violence in paragraph 15 of the Judgment, the International Court of Justice seems to adopt a very narrow definition of the notion of victim.
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45. Much has been written in legal doctrine about universal jurisdiction. Many views exist as to its legal meaningFN98 and its legal status under international lawFN99. This is not the place to discuss them. What matters for the present dispute is the way in which Belgium has codified universal jurisdiction in its domestic legislation and whether it is, as applied in the case of Mr. Yerodia, compatible with international law.

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FN98 For a very thorough recent analysis of the various positions, diachronically and syn-chronically, see M. Henzelin, Le principe de l'universalité en droit penal international. Droit et obligation pour les Etats de poursuivre et juger selon le principe de l'universalité, 2000. Other recent publications are M. C. Bassiouni, "Universal Jurisdiction for International Crimes: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Practice", Virginia Journal of International Law. 2001, Vol. 42, pp. 1-100: L. Benavides, "The Universal Jurisdiction Principle", 1 Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional. 2001, pp. 20-96; J. I. Charney, "International Criminal Law and the Role of Domestic Couits", 25 AJIL, 2001, pp. 120124; G. de La Pradelle, "La competence universelle", in H. Ascensio et al. (eds.). Droit international penal, 2000, pp. 905-918; A. Hays Butler, "Universal Jurisdiction: A Review of the Literature", Criminal Law Forum, 2000, pp. 353-373; R. van Elst, "Implementing Universal Jurisdiction over Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions", LJIL, 2000, pp. 815-854. See also the proceedings of the symposium on Universal Jurisdiction: Myths, Realities, and Prospects, 35 New England Law Review, 2001, No. 2.
FN99 For example, some writers hold the view that an independent theory of universal jurisdiction exists with respect to jus cogens international crimes. See. for example, M. C. Bassiouni, "Universal Jurisdiction for International Crimes: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Practice". Virginia Journal of International Law, 2001, Vol. 42, p. 28.
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Article 7 of the 1993/1999 Belgian Act, which is at the centre of the dispute, states the following: "The Belgian courts shall be competent to deal with breaches provided for in the present Act, irrespective of where such breaches have been committed . . ."FN100

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FN100 See footnote 91 for further references.
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46. Despite uncertainties that may exist concerning the definition of universal jurisdiction, one thing is very clear: the ratio legis of universal jurisdiction is based on the international reprobation for certain very serious crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Its raison d'etre is to avoid impunity, to prevent suspects of such crimes finding a [p 167] safe haven in third countries. Scholarly organizations that participated in the debate have emphasized this, for example in the Princeton principles101, the Cairo principles102 and the Kamminga report on behalf of the International Law Association103.

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FN101 Supra, footnote 53.
FN102 Supra, footnote 54.
FN103 Supra, footnote 51.
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47. It may not have been the International Court of Justice's task to define universal jurisdiction in abstract terms. What it should, however, have considered is the following question: was Belgium under international law entitled to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction against Mr. Yero-dia (apart from the question of immunity) in the present case? The Court did not consider this question at all.

1. Universal Jurisdiction for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Is Compatible with the "Lotus" Test

48. The leading case on the question of extraterritorial jurisdiction is the 1927 "Lotus" case. In that case, the Permanent Court of International Justice was asked to decide a dispute between France and Turkey, which arose from a criminal proceeding in Turkey against a French national. This person, the captain of a French ship, was accused of involuntary manslaughter causing Turkish casualties after a collision between his ship and a Turkish ship on the high seas. Like in the present dispute, the question was whether the respondent State, Turkey, was entitled to conduct criminal proceedings against a foreign national for crimes committed outside Turkey. France argued that Turkey was not entitled to prosecute the French national before its domestic courts because there was no permission, and indeed a prohibition, under customary international law for a State to assume extraterritorial jurisdiction. Turkey argued that it was entitled to exercise jurisdiction under international law.

49. The Permanent Court of International Justice decided that there was no rule of conventional or customary international law prohibiting Turkey from asserting jurisdiction over facts committed outside Turkey. It started by saying that, as a matter of principle, jurisdiction is territorial and that a State cannot exercise jurisdiction outside its territory without a permission derived from international custom or from a convention. It however immediately added a qualification to this principle in a famous dictum that students of international law know very well:
"It does not, however, follow that international law prohibits a State from exercising jurisdiction in its own territory, in respect of any case which relates to acts which have taken place abroad, and in which it cannot rely on some permissive rule of international law . . .[p 168]

Far from laying down a general prohibition to the effect that States may not extend the application of their laws and the jurisdiction of their courts to persons, property and acts outside their territory, it leaves them in this respect a wide measure of discretion which is only limited in certain cases by prohibitive rules; as regards other cases, every State remains free to adopt the principles which it regards as best and most suitable."FN104

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FN104 "Lotus", Judgment No. 9, 1927, P.C.I.J., Series A, No 10. p. 19.
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A distinction must be made between prescriptive jurisdiction and enforcement jurisdiction. The above-mentioned dictum concerns prescriptive jurisdiction: it is about what a State may do on its own territory when investigating and prosecuting crimes committed abroad, not about what a State may do on the territory of other States when prosecuting such crimes. Obviously, a State has no enforcement jurisdiction outside its territory: a State may, failing permission to the contrary, not exercise its power on the territory of another State. This is "the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State" FN105. In other words, the permissive rule only applies to prescriptive jurisdiction, not to enforcement jurisdiction: failing a prohibition, State A may, on its own territory, prosecute offences committed in State B (permissive rule) ; failing a permission, State A may not act on the territory of State B.

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FN105 Ibid. p. 18.
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50. Does the arrest warrant of 11 April 2000 come under the first species of jurisdiction, under the second, or under both? In other words: has Belgium, by asserting jurisdiction in the form of the issuing and circulation of an arrest warrant on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against a foreign national for crimes committed abroad, engaged in prescriptive jurisdiction, in enforcement jurisdiction, or in both?

Given the fact that the warrant has never been enforced, the dispute is in the first place about prescriptive jurisdiction. However, the title of the warrant {"international arrest warrant") gave rise to questions about enforcement jurisdiction also.

I believe that Belgium, by issuing and circulating the warrant, violated neither the rules on prescriptive jurisdiction nor the rules on enforcement jurisdiction. My views on enforcement jurisdiction will be part of my reasoning in Section IV, where I will consider whether there was an internationally wrongful act in the present caseFN106. In the present Section, I will deal with prescriptive jurisdiction. I will measure the statutory provision that is at the centre of the dispute, Article 7 of the 1993/1999 Belgian Act, against the yardstick of the "Lotus" test on prescriptive jurisdiction.

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FN106 See infra, paras. 68 et seq.
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[p 169]
51. It follows from the "Lotus" case that a State has the right to provide extraterritorial jurisdiction on its territory unless there is a prohibition under international law. I believe that there is no prohibition under international law to enact legislation allowing it to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity committed abroad.

It has often been argued, not without reason, that the "Lotus" test is too liberal and that, given the growing complexity of contemporary international intercourse, a more restrictive approach should be adopted todayFN107. In the Nuclear Weapons case, there were two groups of States each giving a different interpretation of "Lotus" on this pointFN108 and President Bedjaoui, in his declaration, expressed hesitations about "Lotus"FN109. Even under the more restrictive view, Belgian legislation stands. There is ample evidence in support of the proposition that international law clearly permits States to provide extraterritorial jurisdiction for such crimes.

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FN107 Cf. American Law Institute, Restatement (Third) Foreign Relations Law of the United States, 1987, pp. 235-236; I. Cameron, The Protective Principle of International Criminal Jurisdiction, 1994, p. 319; F. A. Mann, "The Doctrine of International Jurisdiction Revisited after Twenty Years", Recueil des cours de l'Académie de droit international de La Haye, 1964, Vol. 111, p. 35; R. Higgins, Problems and Process. International Law and How We Use It, 1994, p. 77. See also Council of Europe, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in Criminal Matters, 1990, pp. 20 et seq.
FN108 Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons. Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1996, pp. 238-239, para. 21.
FN109 I.C.J. Reports 1996, p. 270, para. 12.
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I will give reasons for both propositions in the next paragraphs. I believe that (a) international law does not prohibit universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity, (b) clearly permits it.

(a) International law does not prohibit universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity

52. The Congo argued that the very concept of universal jurisdiction presupposes the presence of the defendant on the territory of the prosecuting State. Universal jurisdiction in absentia, it submitted, was contrary to international law. This proposition needs to be assessed in the light of conventional and customary international law and of legal doctrine.
53. As a preliminary observation, I wish to make a linguistic comment. The term "universal jurisdiction" does not necessarily mean that the suspect should be present on the territory of the prosecuting State. [p 170]

Assuming the presence of the accused, as some authors do, does not necessarily mean that it is a legal requirement. The term may be ambiguous, but precisely for that reason one should refrain from jumping to conclusions. The Latin maxims that are sometimes used, and that seem to suggest that the offender must be present (judex deprehensionis — ubi te invenero ibi te judicabo) have no legal value and do not necessarily coincide with universal jurisdiction.

54. There is no rule of conventional international law to the effect that universal jurisdiction in absentia is prohibited. The most important legal basis, in the case of universal jurisdiction for war crimes is Article 146 of the IV Geneva Convention of 1949FN110, which lays down the principle aut dedere aut judicareFN111. A textual interpretation of this Article does not logically presuppose the presence of the offender, as the Congo tries to show. The Congo's reasoning in this respect is interesting from a doctrinal point of view, but does not logically follow from the text. For war crimes, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which are almost universally ratified and could be considered to encompass more than mere treaty obligations due to this very wide acceptance, do not require the presence of the suspect. Reading into Article 146 of the IV Geneva Convention a limitation on a State's right to exercise universal jurisdiction would fly in the face of a ideological interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. The purpose of these Conventions, obviously, is not to restrict the jurisdiction of States for crimes under international law.

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FN110 Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, CATS, Vol. 75, p. 287. See also Art. 49, Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949. UNTS, Vol. 75. p. 31 ; Art. 50. Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, Geneva, 12 August 1949, UNTS, Vol. 75. p. 85; Art. 129, Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva. 12 August 1949. UNTS, Vol. 75, p. 135; Art. 85 (1), Protocol Additional (I) to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. Geneva, 8 June 1977, United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, doc. A/32/144. 15 August 1977.
FN111See further infra, para. 62.
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55. There is no customary international law to this effect either. The Congo submits there is a State practice, evidencing an opinio juris asserting that universal jurisdiction, per se, requires the presence of the offender on the territory of the prosecuting State. Many national systems giving effect to the obligation aut dedere aut judicare and/or the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court indeed require the presence of the [p 171] offender. This appears from legislationFN112 and from a number of national decisions including the Danish Saric caseFN113, the French Javor caseFN114and the German Jorgic caseFN115. However, there are also examples of national systems that do not require the presence of the offender on the territory of the prosecuting StateFN116. Governments and national courts in the same State may hold different opinions on the same question, which makes it even more difficult to identify the opinio juris in that StateFN117.

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FN112 See, for example, the Swiss Penal Code, Art. 6bis, I ; the French Penal Code, Art. 689-1 ; the Canadian Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000), Art. 8.
FN113 Public Prosecutor v. 7"., Supreme Court (Hojesteret), Judgment. 15 August 1995, Ugeskrift for Retsvaesen, 1995, p. 838, reported in Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, 1998, p. 431. and in R. Maison, "Les premiers cas d application des dispositions pénales des Conventions de Genève: commentaire des affaires danoise et française", EJ1L, 1995. p. 260.
FN114 Cour de cassation (fr.). 26 March 1996, Bull. Crim., 1996. pp. 379-382.
FN115 Bundesgerichtshof 30 April 1999, 3 StR 215/98, NStZ. 1999, p. 396. See also the critical note (Anmerkung) by Ambos, ibid., pp. 405-406, who doesn't share the view of the judges that a "legitimizing link" is required to allow Germany to exercise its jurisdiction over crimes perpetrated outside its territory by foreignei s against foreigners, even if these amount to serious crimes under international law (in casu genocide). In a recent judgment concerning the application of the Geneva Conventions, the Court, however, decided that such a link was not required, since German jurisdiction was grounded on a binding norm of international law instituting a duty to prosecute, so there could hardly be a violation of the principle of non-intervention (Bundesgerichtshof, 21 February 2001, 3 StR 372/00. retrievable on http://www.hrr-strafrecht.de).
FN116 See, for example, the prosecutions instituted in Spain on the basis of Article 23.4 of the Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial (Law 6/1985 of 1 July 1985 on the Judicial Power) against Senator Pinochet and other South American suspects whose extradition was requested. In New Zealand, proceedings may be brought for international "core crimes" regardless of whether or not the person accused was in New Zealand at the time a decision was made to charge the person with an offence (Sec. 8 (I) (c) (iii) of the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act, 2000).
FN117 The German Government very recently reached agreement on a text for an "International Crimes Code" ( Völkerstrafgesetzbuch) (see Bundesministerium der Justiz, Mitteilung für die Presse 02/02, Berlin, 16 January 2002). The new Code would allow German law enforcement agencies to prosecute cases without any link to Germany and without the presence of the offender on the national territory. However if there is no link to Germany, the law enforcement agencies have discretion to defer prosecution in such a case when an International Court or the Courts of a State basing its jurisdiction on territoriality or personality were in fact prosecuting the suspect (see Bundesministerium der Justiz, Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einführung des Völkerstrajgesetzbuches, pp. 19 and 89, to be consulted on the Internet: http://www.bmj.bund.de/images/1 I222.pdf).
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And even where national law requires the presence of the offender, this is not necessarily the expression of an opinio juris to the effect that this is a requirement under international law. National decisions should be read [p 172] with much caution. In the Bouterse case, for example, the Dutch Supreme Court did not state that the requirement of the presence of the suspect was a requirement under international law, but only under domestic law. It found that, under Dutch law, there was no such jurisdiction to prosecute Mr. Bouterse but did not say that exercising such jurisdiction would be contrary to international law. In fact, the Supreme Court did not follow the Advocate General's submission on this pointFN118.

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FN118 See supra, footnote 5. The Court of Appeal of Amsterdam had. in its judgment of 20 November 2000, decided, inter alia, that Mr. Bouterse could be prosecuted in absentia on charges of torture (facts committed in Suriname in 1982). This decision was reversed by the Dutch Supreme Court on 18 September 2001, inter alio on the point of the exercise of universal jurisdiction in absentia. The submissions of the Dutch Advocate General are attached to the judgment of the Supreme Court, Inc. cit.. paras. 113-137 and especially para. 138.
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56. The "Lotus" case is not only an authority on jurisdiction, but also on the formation of customary international law as was set out above. A "negative practice" of States, consisting in their abstaining from instituting criminal proceedings, cannot, in itself, be seen as evidence of an opinio juris. Only if this abstinence was based on a conscious decision of the States in question can this practice generate customary international lawFN119. As in the case of immunities, such abstinence may be attributed to other factors than the existence of an opinio juris. There may be good political or practical reasons for a State not to assert jurisdiction in the absence of the offender.

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FN119 See supra, para. 13.
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It may be politically inconvenient to have such a wide jurisdiction because it is not conducive to international relations and national public opinion may not approve of trials against foreigners for crimes committed abroad. This does not, however, make such trials illegal under international law.

A practical consideration may be the difficulty in obtaining the evidence in trials of extraterritorial crimes. Another practical reason may be that States are afraid of overburdening their court system. This was stated by the Court of Appeal in the United Kingdom in the Al-Adsani caseFN120 and seems to have been an explicit reason for the Assemblée nationale in France to refrain from introducing universal jurisdiction in absentia when adopting universal jurisdiction over the crimes falling within the Statute of the Yugoslavia TribunalFN121. The concern for a linkage with the national order thus seems to be more of a pragmatic than of [p 173] a juridical nature. It is not, therefore, necessarily the expression of an opinio juris to the effect that this form of universal jurisdiction is contrary to international law.

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FN120 ECHR, Al-Adsani v. United Kingdom, 21 November 2001, para. 18, and the concurring opinions of Judges Pellonpaâ and Bratza, retrievable at: http://www.echr.coe.int. See the discussion in Marks, "Torture and the Jurisdictional Immunities of Foreign States". C.I.J. 1997, pp. 8-10.
FN121 See Journal officiel de VAssemblée nationale, 20 décembre 1994, 2e séance, p. 9446.
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57. There is a massive literature of learned scholarly writings on the subject of universal jurisdictionFN122. I confine myself to three studies, which emanate from groups of scholars: the Princeton principlesFN123, the Cairo principlesFN124 and the Kamminga report on behalf of the ILAFN125 and look at one point: do the authors support the Congo's proposition that universal jurisdiction in absentia is contrary to international law? The answer is: noFN126.

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FN122 For recent sources see supra, footnote 98.
FN123 Supra, footnote 53.
FN124 Supra, footnote 54.
FN125 Supra, footnote 51.
FN126 Although the wording of Princeton Principle I (2) may appear somewhat confusing, the authors definitely did not want to prevent a State from initialing the criminal process, conducting an investigation, issuing an indictment or requesting extradition when the accused is not present, as is confirmed by Principle 1 (3). See the Commentary on the Princeton Principles at p. 44.
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58. I conclude that there is no conventional or customary international law or legal doctrine in support of the proposition that (universal) jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity can only be exercised if the defendant is present on the territory of the prosecuting State.

(b) International law permits universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity

59. International law clearly permits universal jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For both crimes, permission under international law exists. For crimes against humanity, there is no clear treaty provision on the subject but it is accepted that, at least in the case of genocide. States are entitled to assert extraterritorial jurisdictionFN127. In the case of war crimes, however, there is specific conventional international law in support of the proposition that States are entitled to assert [p 174] jurisdiction over acts committed abroad: the relevant provision is Article 146 of the IV Geneva ConventionFN128, which lays down the principle aut dedere aut judicare for war crimes committed against civiliansFN129.

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FN127 On the subject of genocide and the Genocide Convention of 1948, the International Court of Justice held that "the rights and obligations enshrined by the Convention are rights and obligations erga omnes" and "that the obligation each State thus has to prevent and to punish the crime of genocide is not territorially limited by the Convention" (Application of the Convention on the Prevention anil Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ( Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia ), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1996 111), p. 616. para. 31 ).
FN128 See supra, footnote 110.
FN129 See International Committee of the Red Cross. National Enforcement of Inter-
national Humanitarian Law: Universal Jurisdiction over War Crimes, retrievable at:
http://www.icrc.org; R. van Eist, "Implementing Universal Jurisdiction over Grave
Breaches of the Geneva Conventions". 13 LI IL, 2000, pp. 815-854.
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From the perspective of the drafting history of international criminal law conventions, this is probably one of the first codifications of this principle, which, in legal doctrine, goes back at least to Hugo Grotius but has probably much older rootsFN130. However, it had not been codified in conventional international law until 1949. There are older Conventions such as the 1926 Slavery ConventionFN131 or the 1929 Convention on CounterfeitingFN132, which require States to lay down rules on jurisdiction but which do not provide an aut dedere aut judicare obligation. The 1949 Conventions are probably the first to lay down this principle in an article that is meant to cover both jurisdiction and prosecution.

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FN130 G. Guillaume, "La compétence universelle. Formes anciennes et nouvelles", in Mélanges offerts It Georges Levusscur, 1992, p. 27.
FN131 Slavery Convention. Geneva, 25 September 1926. League of Nations. Treaty Series (LNTS), Vol. 60. p. 253.
FN132 International Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, Geneva, 20 April 1929. LNTS, Vol. 112. p. 371.
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Subsequent Conventions have refined this way of drafting and have laid down distinctive provisions on jurisdiction on the one hand and on prosecution (aut dedere aut judicare) on the other. Examples are the 1970 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (Articles 4 and 7 respectively)FN133 and the 1984 Convention against Torture (Articles 5 and 7 respectively)FN134.

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FN133 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, signed at The Hague on 16 December 1970, ILM, 1971, p. 134.
FN134 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. New York, 10 December 1984, ILM, 1984, p. 1027. with changes in ILM, 1985. p. 535.
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60. In order to assess the "permissibility" of universal jurisdiction for international crimes, it is important to distinguish between jurisdiction clauses and prosecution (aut dedere aut judicare) clauses in international criminal law conventions.

61. The jurisdiction clauses in these Conventions usually oblige States [p 175] to provide extraterritorial jurisdiction, but do not exclude States from exercising jurisdiction under their national laws. Even where they do not provide universal jurisdiction, they do not exclude it either, nor do they require States to refrain from providing this form of jurisdiction under their domestic law. The standard formulation of this idea is that "[fjhis Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiciion exercised in accordance with national law". This formula can be found in a host of Conventions, including the 1970 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (Art. 4, para. 3) and the 1984 Convention against Torture (Art. 5, para. 3).

62. The prosecution clauses (out dedere aut judieare), however, sometimes link the prosecution obligation to extradition, in the sense that a State's duty to prosecute a suspect only exists "if it does not extradite him". Examples are Article 7 of the 1970 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft and Article 7 of the 1984 Convention against Torture. This, however, does not mean that prosecution is only possible in cases where extradition has been refused.

Surely, this formula cannot be read into Article 146 of the IV Geneva Convention which according to some authors even prioritizes prosecution over extradition: prima prosequi, secundo dedereFN135. Even if one adopts the doctrinal viewpoint that the notion of universal jurisdiction assumes the presence of the offender, there is nothing in Article 146 that warrants the conclusion that this is an actual requirementFN136.

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FN135 The Geneva Conventions of 1949 are unique in that they provide a mechanism which goes further than the "mil dedere, aut judieare" model and which can be described as "aut judieare, aut dedere", or, even more poignantly, as "prima prosecpii, secundo dedere". See. respectively. R. van Elst, he. tit., pp. 818-819; M. Henzelin, op. cit.. p. 353. para. 1112.
FN136 See M. Henzelin, op. cit., p. 354, para. 1113.
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2. Universal Jurisdiction Is Not Contrary to the Complementarity Principle in the Statute for an International Criminal Court

63. Some argue that, in the light of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court, it will be for the International Criminal Court, and not for States acting on the basis of universal jurisdiction, to prosecute suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity. National statutes providing universal jurisdiction, like the Belgian Statute, would be contrary to this new philosophy and could paralyse the International Criminal Court. This was also the proposition of the Congo in the present disputeFN137.

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FN137 See Memorial of the Congo, p. 59. "The obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of the Statute of the International Criminal Court." [Translation by the Registry.]
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[p 176]

64. This proposition is wrong. The Rome Statute does not prohibit universal jurisdiction. It would be absurd to read the Rome Statute in such a way that it limits the jurisdiction for core crimes to either the national State or the territorial State or the International Criminal Court. The relevant clauses are about the preconditions for the International Criminal Court to exercise jurisdiction (Art. 17, Rome Statute — the complementarity principle), and cannot be construed as containing a general limitation for third States to investigate and prosecute core crimes. Surely, the Rome Statute does not preclude third States (other than the territorial State and the State of nationality) from exercising universal jurisdiction. The preamble, which unequivocally states the objective of avoiding impunity, does not allow this inference. In addition, the opinio juris, as it appears from United Nations resolutionsFN138, focuses on impunity, individual accountability and the responsibility of all States to punish core crimes.

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FN138 Sec supra, footnotes 48 and 49.
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65. An important practical element is that the International Criminal Court will not be able to deal with all crimes; there will still be a need for States to investigate and prosecute core crimes. These States include, but are not limited to, national and territorial States. As observed previously, there will still be a need for third States to investigate and prosecute, especially in the case of sham trials. Also, the International Criminal Court will not have jurisdiction over crimes committed before the entry into force of its Statute (Art. 11, Rome Statute). In the absence of other mechanisms for the prosecution of these crimes, such as national courts exercising universal jurisdiction, this would leave an unacceptable source of impunityFN139

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FN139 See also supra, para. 37.
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66. The Rome Statute does not establish a new legal basis for third States to introduce universal jurisdiction. It does not prohibit it but does not authorize it either. This means that, as far as crimes in the Rome Statute are concerned (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and in the future perhaps aggression and other crimes), pre-existing sources of international law retain their importance.

3. Conclusion

67. Article 7 of Belgium's 1993/1999 Act, giving effect to the principle of universal jurisdiction regarding war crimes and crimes against humanity, is not contrary to international law. International law does not prohibit States from asserting prescriptive jurisdiction of this kind. On the contrary, international law permits and even encourages States to assert this form of jurisdiction in order to ensure that suspects of war crimes [p 177] and crimes against humanity do not find safe havens. It is not in conflict with the principle of complementarity in the Statute for an International Criminal Court.

IV. Existence of an Internationally Wrongful Act
68. Having concluded that incumbent Ministers for Foreign Affairs are fully immune from foreign criminal jurisdiction (Judgment, para. 54), even if charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity (Judgment, para. 58), the International Court of Justice examines whether the issuing and circulating of the warrant of 11 April 2000 constituted a violation of those rules. On the subject of the issuance and the circulation of the warrant respectively, the Court concludes:

"that the issue of the warrant constituted a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, in that it failed to respect the immunity of that Minister and, more particularly, infringed the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability then enjoyed by him under international law" (Judgment, para. 70)

"that the circulation of the warrant, whether or not it significantly interfered with Mr. Yerodia's diplomatic activity, constituted a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, in that it failed to respect the immunity of the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo and, more particularly, infringed the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and the inviolability then enjoyed by him under international law" (Judgment, para. 71).

69. As stated at the outset, I find it highly regrettable that neither of these crucial sentences in the Court's reasoning mention the fact that the arrest warrant was about war crimes and crimes against humanity. The c/ispositif (para. 78 (2)) also fails to mention this fact.

70. I disagree with the conclusion that there was a violation of an obligation of Belgium towards the Congo, because I reject its premise. Mr. Yerodia was not immune from Belgian jurisdiction for war crimes and crimes against humanity for the reasons set out above. As set out before, this may be contrary to international courtesy, but there is no rule of customary or conventional international law granting immunity to incumbent Foreign Ministers who are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

71. Moreover, Mr. Yerodia was never actually arrested in Belgium, and there is no evidence that he was hindered in the exercise of his functions in third countries. Linking the foregoing with my observations on the question of universal jurisdiction in the preceding section of my dis-[p 178]
senting opinion, I wish to distinguish between the two different "acts" that, in the International Court of Justice's Judgment, constitute a violation of customary international 1 aw: on the one hand, the issuing of the disputed arrest warrant, on the other its circulation.

1. The Issuance of the Disputed Arrest Warrant in Belgium Was Not in Violation of International Law

72. Mr. Yerodia was never arrested, either when he visited Belgium officially in June 2000FN140 or thereafter. Had it applied the only relevant provision of conventional international law to the dispute, Article 21, paragraph 2, of the Special Missions Convention, the Court could not have reached its decision. According to this article. Foreign Ministers

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FN140 Mr. Yerodia's visit to Belgium is not mentioned in the Judgment because the Parties were rather unclear on this point. Y'et. it seems that Mr. Yerodia effectively visited Belgium on 17 June 2000. This was reported in the media (see the statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in De Standaard, 7 July 2000) and also in a question that was put in Parliament to the Minister of Justice. See oral question put by Mr. Tony Van Parys to the Minister of Justice concerning "the political intervention by Tie Government in the proceedings against the Congolese Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Yerodia" (translation by the Registry]. Chambre ties representants de la Belgique. compte rendu integral avee
conipte rendu analytique. Commission de la Justice. 14 November 2000, CRIV 50 COM 294. p. 12. Despite the fact that this fact is not. as such, recorded in the documents that were before the International Court of Justice, I believe the Court could have taken judicial notice of it.
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"when they take part in a special mission of the sending State, shall enjoy in the receiving State or in third State, in addition to what is granted by the present Convention, the facilities, privileges and immunities accorded by international law"FN141

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FN141 Supra, para. 18.
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In the present dispute, this could only lead to the conclusion that there was no violation: the warrant was never executed, either in Belgium, or in third countries.

73. Belgium accepted, as a matter of international courtesy, that the warrant could not be executed against Mr. Yerodia were lie to have visited Belgium officially. This was explicitly mentioned in the warrant: the warrant was not enforceable and was in fact not served on him or executed when Mr. Yerodia came to Belgium on an official visit in June 2001. Belgium thus respected the principle, contained in Article 21 of the Special Missions Convention, that is not a statement of customary international law but only of international courtesyFN142.

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FN142 See the statement of the International Law Commission's Special Rapporteur, referred to supra, para. 17.
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74. These are the only objective elements the Court should have looked [p 179] at. The subjective elements, i.e., whether the warrant had a psychological effect on Mr. Yerodia or whether it was perceived as offensive by the Congo (cf. the term injuria used by Maître Rigaux throughout his pleadings in October 2001FN143 and the term capitis diminutio used by Maître Verges during his pleadings in November 2000FN144) was irrelevant for the dispute. The warrant only had a potential legal effect on Mr. Yerodia as a private person in case he would have visited Belgium privately, quod non.

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FN143 CR 2001/5. p. 14.
FN144 CR 2000/32.
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75. In its dispositif (Judgment, para. 78 (2)). the Court finds that Belgium failed to respect the immunity from criminal jurisdiction and inviolability for incumbent Foreign Ministers. I have already explained why, in my opinion, there has been no infringement of the rules on immunity from criminal jurisdiction. I find it hard to see how, in addition (the Court using the word "and"), Belgium could have infringed the inviolability of Mr. Yerodia by the mere issuance of a warrant that was never enforced.

The Judgment does not explain what is meant by the word "inviolability", and simply juxtaposes it to the word "immunity". This may give rise to confusion. Does the Court put the mere issuance of an order on the same footing as the actual enforcement of the order? Would this also mean that the mere act of investigating criminal charges against a Foreign Minister would be contrary to the principle of inviolability?

Surely, in the case of diplomatic agents, who enjoy absolute immunity and inviolability under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations FN145 allegations of criminal offences may be nvestigated as long as the agent is not interrogated or served with an order to appear. This view is clearly stated by Jean SalmonFN146. Jonathan Brown notes that, in the case of a diplomat, the issuance of a charge or summons is probably contrary to the diplomat's immunity, whereas its execution would be likely to infringe the agent's inviolabilityFN147.

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FN145 Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Vienna, 18 April 1961, CATS, Vol. 500. p. 95.
FN146 J. Salmon, Manuel de droit diplomatique, 1994, p. 304.
FN147 J. Brown, "Diplomatic Immunity: State Practice under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations". 37 ICLQ. 1988. p. 53.
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If the Court's dispositif were to be interpreted as to mean that mere investigations of criminal charges against Foreign Ministers would infringe their inviolability, the implication would be that Foreign Ministers enjoy greater protection than diplomatic agents under the Vienna Convention. This would clearly go beyond what is accepted under international law in the case of diplomats. [p 180]

2. The International Circulation of the Disputed Arrest Warrant Was Not in Violation of International Law

76. The question of the circulation of the warrant may be somewhat different, because it might be argued that circulating a warrant internationally brings it within the realm of enforcement jurisdiction, which, under the "Lotus" test, is in principle prohibited. Under that test, States can only act on the territory of other States if there is permission to this effect in international law. This is the "first and foremost restriction" that international law imposes on StatesFN148

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FN148 See supra, para. 49.
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77. Even if one would accept, together with the Court, the premise there is a rule under customary law protecting Foreign Ministers suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity from the criminal process of other States, it still remains to be established that Belgium actually infringed this rule by asserting enforcement jurisdiction. Much confusion arose from the title that was given to the warrant, which was called "international arrest warrant" on the document issued by the Belgian judge. However, this is a very misleading term both under Belgian law and under international law. International arrest warrants do not exist as a special category under Belgian law. It is true that the title of the document was misleading, but giving a document a misleading name does not actually mean that this document also has the effect that it suggests it has.

78. The term international arrest warrant is misleading, in that it suggests that arrest warrants can be enforced in third countries without the validation of the local authorities. This is not the case: there is always a need for a validation by the authorities of the State where the person, mentioned in the warrant, is found. Accordingly, the Belgian arrest warrant against Mr. Yerodia, even after being circulated in the Interpol system, could not be automatically enforced in all Interpol member States. It may have caused an inconvenience that was perceived as offensive by Mr. Yerodia or by the Congolese authorities. It is not per se a limitation of the Congolese Foreign Minister's right to travel and to exercise his functions.

I know of no State that automatically enforces arrest warrants issued in other States, not even in regional frameworks such as the European Union. Indeed, the discussions concerning the European arrest warrant were about introducing something that does not exist at present: a rule by which member States of the European Union would automatically [p 181] enforce each other's arrest warrantsFN149. At present, warrants of the kind that the Belgian judge issued in the case of Mr. Yerodia are not automatically enforceable in Europe.

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FN149 See Ihe Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures between the Member States, COM(2001 )522, available on the Internet: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/pdf/2001/en_501PC0522.pdf'. An amended version can be found in: Council of the European Union, Outcome of Proceedings, 10 December 2001, 14867/1/01 REV 1 COPEN 79 CATS 50.
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In inter-State relations, the proper way for States to obtain the presence of offenders who are not on their territory is through the process of extradition. The discussion about the legal effect of the Belgian arrest warrant in third States has to be seen from that perspective. When a judge issues an arrest warrant against a suspect whom he believes to be abroad, this warrant may lead to an extradition request. This is not automatic: it is up to the Government whether or not to request extraditionFN150. Extradition requests are often preceded by a request for provisional arrest for the purposes of extradition. This is what the Interpol Red Notices are about. Red Notices are issued by Interpol on the request of a State which wishes to have the person named in the warrant provisionally arrested in a third State for the purposes of extradition. Not all States, however, give this effect to an Interpol Red NoticeFN151.

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FN150 Often. Governments refrain from requesting extradition for political reasons, as was shown in the case of Mr. Ocalan. where Germany decidtd not to proceed to request Mr. Ocalan's extradition from Italy. See Press Reports: "Bonn stellt Auslieferungsersuchen für Öcalan zurück". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21 November 1998. and "Die Bundesregierung verzichtet endgültig auf die Auslieferung des Kurdenführers Ocalan". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 28 November 1998.
FN151 Interpol, General Secretariat, Rapport sur la valeur juridique des notices rouges, ICPO-Interpol, General Assembly, 66th Session, New Delhi, 15-21 October 1997. AGN/ 66/RAP/8, No. 8 Red Notices, as amended pursuant to resolution No. AGN/66/RES/7.
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Requests for the provisional arrest are, in turn, often preceded by an international tracing request, which aims at localizing the person named in the arrest warrant. This "communication" does not have the effect of a Red Notice, and does not include a request for the provisional arrest of the person named in the warrant. Some countries may refuse access to a person whose name has been circulated in the Interpol system or against whom a Red Notice has been requested. This is. however, a question of domestic law.

States may also prohibit the official visits of persons who are suspected of international crimes refusing a visa, or by refusing accreditation if such [p 182] persons are proposed for a diplomatic functionFN152, but this, again, is a domestic matter for third States to consider, and not an automatic consequence of a judge's arrest warrant.

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FN152 See the Danish hesitations concerning the accreditation of an Ambassador for Israel, supra, footnote 21.
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79. In the case of Mr. Yerodia, Belgium communicated the warrant to Interpol (end of June 2000), but did not request an Interpol Red Notice until September 2001, which was when Mr. Yerodia had ceased to be a Minister. It follows that Belgium never requested any country to arrest Mr. Yerodia provisionally for the purposes of extradition while he was a Foreign Minister. The Congo claims that Mr. Yerodia was, in fact, restricted in his movements as a result of the Belgian arrest warrant. Yet, it fails to adduce evidence to prove this point. It appears, on the contrary, that Mr. Yerodia has made a number of foreign travels after the warrant had been circulated in the Interpol system (2000), including an official visit to the United Nations. During the hearings, it was said that, when attending this United Nations Conference in New York, Mr. Yerodia chose the shortest way between the airport and the United Nations building, because he feared being arrestedFN153. This fear, which he may have had, was based on psychological, not on legal giounds. Under the 1969 Special Missions Convention, he could not be arrested in third countries when on an official visit. On his official visits in third States, no coercive action was taken against him on the basis of the Belgian warrant.

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FN153 CR 2001/10/20.
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3. Conclusion

80. The warrant could not be and was not executed in the country where it was issued (Belgium) or in the countries to which it was circulated. The warrant was not executed in Belgium when Mr. Yerodia visited Belgium officially in June 2000. Belgium did not lodge an extradition request to third countries or a request for the provisional arrest for the purposes of extradition. The warrant was not an "international arrest warrant", despite the language used by the Belgian judge. It could and did not have this effect, neither in Belgium nor in third countries. The allegedly wrongful act was a purely domestic act, with no actual extraterritorial effect.

V. Remedies

81. On the subject of remedies, the Congo asked the Court for two different actions: (a) a declaratory judgment to the effect that the warrant [p 183] and its circulation through Interpol was contrary to international law and (b) a decision to the effect that Belgium should withdraw the warrant and its circulation. The Court granted bolh requests: it decided (a) that the issue and international circulation of the arrest warrant were in breach of a legal obligation of Belgium towards the Congo (Judgment, para. 78 (2) of the dispositif) and (b) that Belgium must, by means of its own choosing, cancel the arrest warrant and so inform the authorities to whom the warrant was issued (Judgment, para. 78 (3) of the dispositif).

82. I have, in Sections II (Immunities), III (Jurisdiction) and IV (Existence of an Internationally Wrongful Act) of my dissenting opinion, given the reasons why I voted against paragraph 78 (2) of the dispositif relating to the illegality, under international law, of the arrest warrant: I believe that Belgium was not, under positive international law, obliged to grant immunity to Mr. Yerodia on suspicions of war crimes and crimes against humanity and, moreover, I believe that Belgium was perfectly entitled to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction against Mr. Yerodia for such crimes.

83. I still need to give reasons for my vote against paragraph 78 (3) of the dispositif, calling for the cancellation and the de-circulation" of the disputed arrest warrant. Even assuming, arguendo, that the arrest warrant was illegal in the year 2000, it was no longer illegal at the moment when the Court gave Judgment in this case. Belgium's alleged breach of an international obligation did not have a continuing character: it may have lasted as long as Mr. Yerodia was in office, but it did not continue in time thereafterFN154. For that reason, I believe the International Court of Justice cannot ask Belgium to cancel and "decirculate" an act that is not illegal today.

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FN154 See Article 14 of the 2001 1LC Draft Articles on State Responsibility. United Nations doc. A/CN.4/L.602/Rev.l, concerning the extension in time of the breach of an international obligation, which states the following:
"1. The breach of an international obligation by an act of a State not having a continuing character occurs at the moment when the act is performed, even if its effects continue.
2. The breach of an international obligation by an act of a State having a continuing character extends over the entire period during which the act continues and remains not in conformity with the international obligation . . ."
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84. In its Counter-Memorial and pleadings, Belgium formulated three preliminary objections based on Mr. Yerodia's change of position. It argued that, due to Mr. Yerodia's ceasing to be a Minister today, the Court (a) no longer had jurisdiction to try the case, (b) that the case had become moot, and (c) that the Congo's Application was inadmissible. The Court dismissed all these preliminary objections. [p 184]

I voted with the Court on these three points. I agree with the Court that Belgium was wrong on the points of jurisdiction and admissibility. There is well-established case law to the effect that the Court's jurisdiction to adjudicate a case and the admissibility of the Application must be determined on the date on which the Application was filed (when Mr. Yerodia was still a Minister), not on the date of the Judgment (when Mr. Yerodia had ceased to be a Minister). This follows from several precedents, the most important of which is the Lockerbie caseFN155. I therefore agree with paragraph 78 (1) (B) and (D) of the Judgment.

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FN155Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom). Preliminary Objections. I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 23. para. 38 (jurisdiction) and p. 26, para. 44 (admissibility). Sec further, S. Rosenne, The Law and Practi.e of the International Court, 1920-1996, Vol. II, 1997, pp. 521-522.
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I was, however, more hesitant on the subject of mootness, where the Court held that the Congo's Application was "not without object" (Judgment, para. 78 (1) (C)). It does not follow from Lockerbie that the question of mootness must be assessed on the date of the filing of the applica-tionFN156. An event subsequent to the filing of an application can still render a case moot. The question therefore was whether, given the fact that Mr. Yerodia is no longer a Foreign Minister today, there was still a case for the respondent State to answer. I think there was, for the fol-lowing reason: it is not because an allegedly illegal act has ceased to continue in time that the illegality disappears. From that perspective, I think the case was not moot. This, however, is only true for the Congo's first claim (a declaratory judgment solemnly declaring the illegality of Bel-gium's act). However, I think the case might have been moot regarding the Congo's second claim, given the fact that Mr Yerodia is no longer a Minister today.

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FN156 In the Questions of Interpretation and Application of the ¡971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom) case the Court only decided on the points of jurisdiction (ibid.. Preliminary Objections. Judgment, I.C.J. Reports ¡998. p. 30, para. 53 (I)) and admissibility (ibid.. para. 53 (2)). not on mootness (ibid., p. 31. para. 53 (3)). The ratio decidendi for paragraphs 53 (1) and (2) is that the relevant date for the assessinent of both jurisdiction and admissibility is the date of the filing of the Application. The Court did not make such a statement in relation to mootness.
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If there was an infringement of international law in the year 2000 (which I do not think exists, for the reasons set out above), it has certainly ceased to exist today. Belgium's alleged breach of an international obligation, if such an obligation existed — which I doubt — was in any event a breach of an obligation not of a continuing character. If the [p 185] Court would take its own reasoning about immunities to its logical conclusion (the temporal linkage between the protection of immunities and the function of the Foreign Minister), then it should have reached the conclusion that the Congo's third and fourth submissions should have been rejected. This is why 1 have voted with the Court on paragraph 78 (1) (C) concerning Belgium's preliminary objection regarding mootness, but against the Court on paragraph 78 (3) of the dispositif.

I also believe, assuming again that there has been an infringement of an international obligation by Belgium, that the declaratory part of the Judgment should have sufficed as reparation for the moral injury suffered by Congo. If there was an act constituting an infringement, which I do not believe exists (a Belgian arrest warrant that was not contrary to customary international law and that was moreover never enforced), it was trivial in comparison with the Congo's failure to comply with its obligation under Article 146 of the IV Geneva Convention (investigating and prosecuting charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on its territory). The Congo did not come to the International Court with clean handsFN157, and its Application should have been rejected. De minimis non curat lexFN158.

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FN157 Sec supra, para. 35.
FN158 This expression is not synonymous with de minimis non curat praetor in civil law systems. See Black's Law Dictionary.
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VI. Final Observations

85. For the reasons set out in this opinion, I think the International Court of Justice has erred in finding that there is a rule of customary international law protecting incumbent Foreign Ministers suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity from the criminal process in other States. No such rule of customary international law exists. The Court has not engaged in the balancing exercise that was crucial for the present dispute. Adopting a minimist and formalistic approach, the Court has de facto balanced in favour of the interests of States in conducting international relations, not the international community's interest in asserting international accountability of State officials suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

86. The Belgian 1993/1999 Act may go too far and it may be politically wise to provide procedural restrictions for foreign dignitaries or to restrict the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Proposals to this effect are under study in Belgium. Belgium may be naive in trying to be a forerunner in [p 186] the suppression of international crimes and in substantiating the view that, where the territorial State fails to take action, it is the responsibility of third States to offer a forum to victims. It may be politically wrong in its efforts to transpose the "sham trial" exception to complementarity in the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court (Art. 17)FN159 into "aut dedere aut judicare" situations. However, the question that was before the Court was not whether Belgium is naive or has acted in a politically wise manner or whether international comity would command a stricter application of universal jurisdiction or a greater respect for for-eign dignitaries. The question was whether Belgium had violated an obligation under international law to refrain from issuing and circulating an arrest warrant on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against an incumbent Foreign Minister.

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FN159 See supra, para. 37.
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87. An implicit consideration behind this Judgment may have been a concern for abuse and chaos, arising from the risk of States asserting unbridled universal jurisdiction and engaging in abusive prosecutions against incumbent Foreign Ministers of other Stales and thus paralysing the functioning of these States. The "monstrous cacophony" argumentFN160 was very present in the Congo's Memorial and pleadings. The argument can be summarized as follows: if a State would prosecute members of foreign Governments without respecting their immunities, chaos will be the result; likewise, if States exercise unbridled universal jurisdiction without any point of linkage to the domestic legal order, there is a danger for political tensions between States.

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FN160 J. Verhoeven, "M. Pinochet, la coutume internationale et la compétence universelle". Journal des tribunaux. 1999, p. 315; J. Verhoeven, "Vers un ordre répressif universel? Quelques observations", AFDI, 1999, p. 55.
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In the present dispute, there was no allegation of abuse of process on the part of Belgium. Criminal proceedings against Mr. Yerodia were not frivolous or abusive. The warrant was issued after two years of criminal investigations and there were no allegations that the investigating judge who issued it acted on false factual evidence. The accusation that Belgium applied its War Crimes Statute in an offensive and discriminatory manner against a Congolese Foreign Minister was manifestly ill founded. Belgium, rightly or wrongly, wishes to act as an agent of the world community by allowing complaints brought by foreign victims of serious human rights abuses committed abroad. Since the infamous Dutroux case (a case of child molestation attracting great media attention in the late 1990s), Belgium has amended its laws in order to improve victims' procedural rights, without discriminating between Belgian and foreign victims. In doing so, Belgium has also opened its courts to victims bring-[p 187]ing charges based on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed abroad. This new legislation has been applied not only in the case against Mr. Yerodia but also in cases against Mr. Pinochet, Mr. Sharon, Mr. Raf-zanjani, Mr. Hissen Habré, Mr. Fidel Castro, etc. It would therefore be wrong to say that the War Crimes Statute has been applied against a Congolese national in a discriminatory way.

In the abstract, the chaos argument may be pertinent. This risk may exist, and the Court could have legitimately warned against this risk in its Judgment without necessarily reaching the conclusion that a rule of customary international law exists to the effect of granting immunity to Foreign Ministers. However, granting immunities to incumbent Foreign Ministers may open the door to other sorts of abuse. It dramatically increases the number of persons that enjoy international immunity from jurisdiction. Recognizing immunities for other members of government is just one step further: in present-day society, all Cabinet members represent their countries in various meetings. If Foreign Ministers need immunities to perform their functions, why not grant immunities to other Cabinet members as well? The International Court of Justice does not state this, but doesn't this flow from its reasoning leading to the conclusion that Foreign Ministers are immune? The rationale for assimilating Foreign Ministers with diplomatic agents and Heads of State, which is at the centre of the Court's reasoning, also exists for other Ministers who represent the State officially, for example, Ministers of Education who have to attend Unesco conferences in New York or other Ministers receiving honorary doctorates abroad. Male fide Governments may appoint persons to Cabinet posts in order to shelter them from prosecu-tions on charges of international crimes. Perhaps the International Court of Justice, in its effort to close one Pandora's box for fear of chaos and abuse, has opened another one: that of granting immunity and thus de facto impunity to an increasing number of government officials.

(Signed) Christine Van den Wyngaert.

 
     

 

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