Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo)
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE
On 28 December 1998, Guinea filed an Application instituting proceedings against the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in respect of a dispute concerning “serious violations of international law” alleged to have been committed upon the person of Mr. Ahmadou Sadio Diallo, a Guinean national. In its Application, Guinea maintained that
“Mr. Ahmadou Sadio Diallo, a businessman of Guinean nationality, was unjustly imprisoned by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after being resident in that State for thirty-two (32) years, despoiled of his sizable investments, businesses, movable and immovable property and bank accounts, and then expelled.”
“[t]his expulsion came at a time when Mr. Ahmadou Sadio Diallo was pursuing recovery of substantial debts owed to his businesses [Africom-Zaire and Africontainers-Zaire] by the [Congolese] State and by oil companies established in its territory and of which the State is a shareholder”.
To found the jurisdiction of the Court, Guinea invoked in the Application the declarations whereby the two States have recognized the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Court.
On 3 October 2002, the DRC raised preliminary objections in respect of the admissibility of Guinea’s Application. In its Judgment of 24 May 2007 on these preliminary objections, the Court declared the Application of the Republic of Guinea to be admissible “in so far as it concerns protection of Mr. Diallo’s rights as an individual” and “in so far as it concerns protection of [his] direct rights as associé in Africom-Zaire and Africontainers-Zaire”. However, the Court declared the Application of the Republic of Guinea to be inadmissible “in so far as it concerns protection of Mr. Diallo in respect of alleged violations of rights of Africom-Zaire and Africontainers-Zaire”.
In its Judgment of 30 November 2010 on the merits, the Court found that, in respect of the circumstances in which Mr. Diallo had been expelled on 31 January 1996, the DRC had violated Article 13 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 12, paragraph 4, of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Court also found that, in respect of the circumstances in which Mr. Diallo had been arrested and detained in 1995-1996 with a view to his expulsion, the DRC had violated Article 9, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Covenant and Article 6 of the African Charter. The Court further decided that “the Democratic Republic of the Congo [was] under obligation to make appropriate reparation, in the form of compensation, to the Republic of Guinea for the injurious consequences of the violations of international obligations referred to in subparagraphs (2) and (3) [of the operative part]”, namely the unlawful arrests, detentions and expulsion of Mr. Diallo. In addition, the Court found that the DRC had violated Mr. Diallo’s rights under Article 36, paragraph 1 (b), of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. It did not however order the DRC to pay compensation for this violation. In the same Judgment, the Court rejected all other submissions by Guinea relating to the arrests and detentions of Mr. Diallo, including the contention that he had been subjected to treatment prohibited by Article 10, paragraph 1, of the Covenant during his detentions. Furthermore, the Court found that the DRC had not violated Mr. Diallo’s direct rights as an associé in the companies Africom-Zaire and Africontainers-Zaire. Finally, the Court decided, with respect to the question of compensation owed by the DRC to Guinea, that “failing agreement between the Parties on this matter within six months from the date of [the said] Judgment, [this] question . . . shall be settled by the Court”.
The time-limit of six months thus fixed by the Court having expired on 30 May 2011 without an agreement being reached between the Parties on the question of compensation due to Guinea, it fell to the Court to determine the amount of compensation to be awarded to Guinea as a consequence of the unlawful arrests, detentions and expulsion of Mr. Diallo by the DRC, pursuant to the findings of the Court set out in its Judgment of 30 November 2010. By an Order of 20 September 2011, the Court fixed 6 December 2011 and 21 February 2012 as the respective time-limits for the filing of the Memorial of Guinea and the Counter-Memorial of the DRC on the question of compensation due to Guinea. The Memorial and the Counter-Memorial were duly filed within the time-limits thus prescribed. The Court delivered its Judgment on 19 June 2012.
In its Memorial, Guinea valued the mental and moral damage suffered by Mr. Diallo at US$250,000. The Court considered various factors in its assessment of that injury, notably the arbitrary nature of Mr. Diallo’s arrests and detentions, the unjustifiably long period of his detention, the unsubstantiated accusations of which he was the victim, his wrongful expulsion from a country where he had resided for 32 years and where he had engaged in significant business activities and the link between his expulsion and the fact that he had attempted to recover debts which he believed were owed to his companies by the Zairean State or companies in which that State held a substantial portion of the capital. It also took account of the fact that there was no evidence that Mr. Diallo had been mistreated. On the basis of equitable considerations, the Court found that the amount of US$85,000 would provide appropriate compensation for the non-material injury suffered by Mr. Diallo.
Finally, in its Memorial, Guinea valued the loss of earnings suffered by Mr. Diallo during his unlawful detention and following his unlawful expulsion at almost US$6.5 million. The Court ruled that Guinea had failed to prove the existence of any such loss. Consequently, it awarded no compensation on that basis.
The Court concluded that the total sum to be awarded to Guinea was thus US$95,000, to be paid by 31 August 2012. It decided that, should payment be delayed, post-judgment interest on the principal sum due would accrue as from 1 September 2012 at an annual rate of 6 per cent. The Court ruled that each Party would bear its own costs.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.