Friday, January 27, 2006

ICJ Watch: (Slowly) Clearing the Decks, but More Cases Coming

Next week will be a busy one at the ICJ.

First, the ICJ will release its jurisdictional judgment in the case brought by Congo against Rwanda on Friday, February 3. Congo filed the case back 2002 alleging that Rwanda violated a variety of international human rights treaties by carrying out armed attacks in Congo during the height of the Congo civil war in the 1990s. This case seems like a sure loser for Congo, on jurisdictional grounds, but we'll see. In any event, the ICJ did not exactly place this case on its front-burner. After the initial set of hearings on provisional measures, the ICJ ordered briefing on jurisdiction to be completed by May 2003. The parties complied, and the ICJ then waited over two years before holding oral hearings. In other words, Congo will probably have litigated for almost four years to simply get a judgment on whether the ICJ has jurisdiction.

Second, Argentina has announced it will file an application in the ICJ against Uruguay arguing that Uruguay has violated certain treaties by building pulp mills that discharge waste into the river that separates the two countries. No formal application is posted yet, but it seems like it should happen any day now and may result in a useful solution to a potentially nasty border dispute.

Third, the United Kingdom may be facing an application from Cyprus alleging the UK has failed in its treaty commitments as the "guarantor power" to protect Cyprus from Turkish incursions.

The ICJ docket is hardly full, but given it takes the ICJ years to issue jurisdictional judgments, I wouldn't expect any resolution to these cases anytime soon.


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This worries me a bit - I purchased an apartment in Cyprus earlier this year (Pics here) - could this development have a bearing on my investment do you think?

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