Wednesday, September 26, 2012
In a press release today, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has filed an application seeking to institute proceedings against France. Guinea seeks to have the ICJ annul criminal proceedings in France against Guinea's President, Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and its Vice President, Mr. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. France had initiated criminal proceedings against the ruling family of Guinea at the request of the anti-corruption organization, Transparency International, which accused the Guinean ruling family of corruption and embezzlement. In connection with those proceedings, French officials have seized both real and personal property in France belonging to the Guinean ruling family. Guinea alleges that the actions of France violate several international law principles, including the sovereignity, equality of states, non-intervention and respect for immunity from criminal jurisdiction for heads of state.
There is no controlling international agreement that gives the ICJ jurisdiction over this dispute. Accordingly, Guinea has invoked Article 38(5) of the ICJ's statute and requested that France give its consent to the proceeding. Pursuant to that rule, a copy of the application has been transmitted to France. Unless and until France consents to the suit, the case will not be listed on the ICJ's General List, nor will any other action be taken by the Court with respect to this matter.