On 23rd February came the finishing touches to the second part of audiences before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest body of justice of the United Nations, regarding the case that brings Equatorial Guinea against France, following the claim filed by our country that France had violated the diplomatic immunity of the Vice-President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.
During the day, Equatorial Guinea presented its conclusions. In the hands of the agent in the case, the Equatorial Guinea Ambassador in Brussels, Carmelo Nvono-Nca, our country asked the Court to “reject the preliminary exceptions from France, and declare that they have competence to pass judgement on the request from Equatorial Guinea”.
The French court opened a case against the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea in 2016, in which he was sentenced last October to three years in prison and a 30 million Euro fine, in the case known as “dishonestly acquired goods”.
With this case and sentence, France not only has not respected the diplomatic immunity of Teodoro Nguema Obiang, but has not respected the diplomatic status of the building which houses the Equatorial Guinea Embassy in Paris, which France had tried to seize.
For that reason, Equatorial Guinea took the case to The Hague, but France presented a preliminary objection and asked the magistrates to declare themselves without competence to pass judgement on the legal processes of the Criminal Court in Paris, which is currently at the appeal stage.
France presented its conclusions last Wednesday, in a session in which, as today the lawyer from the Equatoguinean delegation, Michael Wood, affirmed, “all the allegations by France refer to the basis for the case, and have nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the Court”. In that sense, the Ambassador Nvono-Nca asked France to “not refuse to accept the competence of this noble Court, because they are not going to find a better setting to set this controversy straight”.
Furthermore, the Equatoguinean diplomat underlined that “to respect our sovereignty not interfere in our internal affairs, and not appropriate our goods and rights are the minimum conditions that France should meet if it wishes to remain friends with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea”.
It is expected that the decision of the magistrates, who will establish whether the highest court of the UN is competent to examine the case or not, will be known in the next few months.
Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea