France agrees to ICJ jurisdiction in dispute with Djibouti over judge's death

[JURIST] France has consented to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] in a dispute with the East African country of Djibouti [CIA backgrounder] over an investigation into the alleged assassination of a French judge in 1995. The case is now on the ICJ case list [press release].

In January, Djibouti asked the ICJ to take the case [JURIST report] arguing that France has no authority to summon in its own courts witnesses who qualify for diplomatic immunity, and that when a French judge summoned such witnesses as the Djibouti Head of State, "France has violated its obligation to prevent attacks on the person, freedom or dignity of persons enjoying such protection." Djibouti also argued that because the alleged assassination took place in Djibouti, France was violating 1977 and 1986 cooperation treaties between the two countries by ignoring Djibouti's requests for the case files to be transferred to Djibouti prosecutors, who insist they have jurisdiction. Judge Bernard Borrel's death was originally ruled a suicide, before French prosecutors re-opened the case. In consenting to ICJ jurisdiction, France strictly limited its agreement to the subject matter of the application at issue. Read the ICJ press release.

 

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