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International Law Keyed to Damrosche
Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)
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The Belgian law provides for universal jurisdiction in the case of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, crimes against humanity and other serious offenses. Relying on this law, a Belgian judge issued an international arrest warrant for the foreign minister of the D.R.C (P) on the premise of grave violations of humanitarian laws to be tried in Belgium. The Belgium law also denotes that any immunity which is conferred by an individual’s official capacity does not curtail the application of universal jurisdiction.The arrest warrant was circulated internationally and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) was also notified. This action of Belgium was therefore the basis of D.R.C. (P) suit against it at the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.). The D.R.C. (P) asserted that the warrant against its foreign minister was a clear violation of international law because Belgium purported by this act to exercise jurisdiction over its foreign minister.D.R.C. (P) also claimed that its minister should also enjoy immunity equivalent to that enjoyed by diplomats and heads of states. In addition to this, the plaintiff also sought an order of provisional measures of protection on the ground that the warrant effectively curtailed the foreign minister from leaving the D.R.C. (p). The I.C.J. thus gave its judgment on this case.
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