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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
2.2. Conditions for a Decision on the Merits
2.2.3.Jurisdiction in Case of Continuing Negotiations between the Parties

¤ Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000
Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium
Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures
Order of 8 December 2000

[p. ] 65. Whereas, however, in the final version of its argument in the present proceedings, Belgium further observed that by the terms of its declaration it had excluded the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court concerning situations or facts "in regard to which the parties have agreed or may agree to have recourse to another method of pacific settlement"; and whereas it stated that negotiations at the highest level regarding the arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000 were in fact in progress when the Congo seised the Court (see paragraph 46 above);

66. Whereas Belgium has not, however, provided the Court with any further details of those negotiations, in particular with regard to the way in which they have been carried out, or to their duration, scope or state of progress at the time of filing of the Congo's Application; whereas the Court is not in a position to determine whether, in the present case, the Parties had agreed temporarily to exclude any recourse to the Court on account of, and for the duration of, the ongoing negotiations; whereas Belgium, moreover, has not explained to the Court the precise consequences which it considered the holding of those negotiations, or the holding of negotiations generally, would have in regard to the Courts jurisdiction, and in particular its jurisdiction to indicate provisional measures;

67. Whereas, when the Court has before it a request for the indication of provisional measures, it has no need, before deciding whether or not to indicate such measures, to satisfy itself beyond doubt that it has jurisdiction on the merits of the case, but whereas it cannot nevertheless indicate those measures unless the provisions invoked appear prima facie to constitute a basis on which its jurisdiction could be founded;

68. Whereas the Court concludes that the declarations made by the Parties pursuant to Article 36, paragraph 2, of its Statute constitute prima facie a basis on which its jurisdiction could be founded in the present case; and whereas such jurisdiction cannot be excluded, at the present stage of the proceedings, solely by reason of the negotiations referred to by Belgium;