Friday, June 8, 2018

Equatorial Guinea Defends Sovereignty as International Court of Justice Declares Jurisdiction in Case Against France

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea continued to defend its sovereignty as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations, ruled it has jurisdiction to hear the case regarding Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of France.

The ICJ rejected multiple preliminary objections raised by France and ruled fourteen votes to one against any declaration that the lodging of the case before The Hague by Equatorial Guinea constituted procedural abuse.

The ICJ will not consider whether France breached the treaty governing diplomatic relations with the confiscation order of Equatorial Guinea sovereign property.

In 2016, the French court opened a suit alleging ill-gotten property against the Vice President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, for which he was sentenced last October to three years in prison and 30 million Euros in fines.

In doing so, France disrespected the diplomatic immunity of the Vice President and also the diplomatic status of the building that houses the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Paris, which France tried to seize in the case.

Equatorial Guinea has taken the case to The Hague to argue the Vice President’s immunity and France’s lack of compliance with international law.

France filed a preliminary objection with The Hague and asked the Court to declare themselves incompetent to rule on the legal process of the Paris Correctional Court.

Equatorial Guinea stressed that the case in France did not respect the country’s sovereignty, interfered in internal affairs, and wrongfully appropriated goods and rights for France.

The Hague is expected to make a decision on competency to review the case in the coming months.