Links

Site search
Document search
Contact

The Court

History
Members of the Court
Presidency
Chambers and Committees
Judges ad hoc
How the Court Works
Financial Assistance to Parties
Annual Reports

The Registry

Registrar
Organizational Chart of the Registry
Texts governing the Registry
Library of the Court
Employment
University traineeship program
Internships
Procurement

Cases

List of All Cases
Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders

Basic Documents

Charter of the United Nations
Statute of the Court
Rules of Court
Practice Directions
Other Texts

Jurisdiction

Contentious Jurisdiction
Advisory Jurisdiction

Press Room

Press releases
Calendar
Media Services
Multimedia
Frequently Asked Questions

Practical Information

Directions
Visits
Links
Frequently Asked Questions

Publications

Introduction

Permanent Court of International Justice

Series A: Collection of Judgments (1923-1930)
Series B: Collection of Advisory Opinions (1923-1930)
Series A/B: Collection of Judgments, Orders and Advisory Opinions (from 1931)
Series C: Acts and documents relating to Judgments and Advisory Opinions given by the Court / Pleadings, Oral Arguments and Documents
Series D: Acts and Documents concerning the organization of the Court
Series E: Annual Reports
Series F: General Indexes
Other documents


Français

Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda)

Overview of the case

On 28 May 2002, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) filed in the Registry of the Court an Application instituting proceedings against Rwanda for “massive, serious and flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law” resulting

“from acts of armed aggression perpetrated by Rwanda on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in flagrant breach of the sovereignty and territorial integrity [of the DRC], as guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of African Unity”.

The DRC stated in its Application that the Court’s jurisdiction to deal with the dispute between it and Rwanda “deriv[ed] from compromissory clauses” in many international legal instruments, such as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Constitution of UNESCO, the 1984 New York Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. The DRC added that the jurisdiction of the Court also derived from the supremacy of peremptory norms (jus cogens), as reflected in certain international treaties and conventions, in the area of human rights.

On 28 May 2002, the date of the filing of the Application, the DRC also submitted a request for the indication of provisional measures. Public hearings were held on 13 and 14 June 2002 on that request. By an Order of 10 July 2002, the Court rejected that request, holding that it did not, in this case, have the prima facie jurisdiction necessary to indicate the provisional measures requested by the DRC. Further, “in the absence of a manifest lack of jurisdiction”, it also rejected Rwanda’s request for the case to be removed from the List. The Court also found that its findings in no way prejudged the question of its jurisdiction to deal with the merits of the case or any questions relating to the admissibility of the Application or relating to the merits themselves.

On 18 September 2002, the Court delivered an Order directing that the written pleadings should first be addressed to the questions of the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the Application, and fixed 20 January 2003 and 20 May 2003, respectively, as the time-limits for the filing of the Memorial of Rwanda and Counter-Memorial of the DRC. Those pleadings were filed within the time-limits thus prescribed.

In its Judgment of 3 February 2006, the Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to entertain the Application filed by the DRC. It found that the international instruments invoked by the DRC could not be relied on, either because Rwanda (1) was not a party to them (as in the case of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) or (2) had made reservations to them (as in the case of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), or because (3) other preconditions for the seisin of the Court had not been satisfied (as in the case of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Constitution of the WHO, the Constitution of UNESCO and the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation).

Since the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the Application, it was not required to rule on its admissibility. Mindful that the subject-matter of the dispute was very similar in nature to that in the case between the Congo and Uganda, and that the reasons as to why the Court would not proceed to an examination of the merits in the case between Congo and Rwanda needed to be carefully explained, the Court stated that it was precluded by a number of provisions in its Statute from taking any position on the merits of the claims made by the DRC. It recalled, however, “that there is a fundamental distinction between the acceptance by States of the Court’s jurisdiction and the conformity of their acts with international law”. Thus, “[w]hether or not States have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, they are required to fulfil their obligations under the United Nations Charter and the other rules of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and they remain responsible for acts attributable to them which are contrary to international law”.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Application instituting proceedings
(French version only)

28 May 2002
Available in:
French

Written proceedings

Request for the indication of Provisional Measures
(French version only)

28 May 2002
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
French

Memorial of Rwanda

20 January 2003
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
English

Counter-Memorial of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(French version only)

20 May 2003
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 2002/36

Public sitting held on Thursday 13 June 2002, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2002/37

Public sitting held on Thursday 13 June 2002, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2002/38

Public sitting held on Friday 14 June 2002, at 9.30 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2002/39

Public sitting held on Friday 14 June 2002, at 12 noon, at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2005/17

Public sitting held on Monday 4 July 2005, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2005/18

Public sitting held on Tuesday 5 July 2005, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2005/19

Public sitting held on Wednesday 6 July 2005, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2005/20

Public sitting held on Friday 8 July 2005, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Guillaume presiding
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Other documents

Documents Referred to by Rwanda during the Hearings

27 July 2005
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
English French

Documents Referred to by the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Hearings
(French version only)

29 July 2005
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
French

Orders

Order of 18 September 2002

Decision regarding content of written pleadings; fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 2002/2

Summary of the Order of 10 July 2002
Available in:
English French

Summary 2006/1

Summary of the Judgment of 3 February 2006
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 2002/15

28 May 2002
The Democratic Republic of the Congo initiates proceedings against Rwanda citing massive human rights violations by Rwanda on Congolese territory - The Democratic Republic of the Congo requests the Court to indicate provisional measures as a matter of urgency
Available in:
English French

Press release 2002/18

5 July 2002
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Request for the indication of provisional measures - Court to announce its ruling on Wednesday 10 July 2002 at 3 p.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2002/19

10 July 2002
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - The Court rejects the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by the Congo, as well as the request of Rwanda that the case be removed from the List
Available in:
English French

Press release 2002/22

20 September 2002
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Fixing of time-limits for the filing of pleadings concerning the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the Application
Available in:
English French

Press release 2005/12

9 May 2005
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - The Court will hold public hearings from 4 to 8 July 2005
Available in:
English French

Press release 2005/13

22 June 2005
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Schedule of public hearings to be held from 4 to 8 July 2005
Available in:
English French

Press release 2005/15

8 July 2005
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Conclusion of the public hearings - Court ready to begin its deliberation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2006/3
(French version only)

26 January 2006
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Jurisdiction of the Court and admissibility of the Application - Court to deliver its Judgment on Friday 3 February 2006 at 10 a.m. - The President of the Court will make a statement to the press immediately after the public sitting
Available in:
French

Press release 2006/4

3 February 2006
Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda) - Jurisdiction of the Court and Admissibility of the Application - The Court finds that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the Application filed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Available in:
English French