|III.||The International Court of Justice|
|2.||THE JURISDICTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE|
|2.2.||Conditions for a Decision on the Merits|
Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000
(Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)
Judgment of 14 February 2002
[pp. 14-15] 32. The Court has already affirmed on a number of occasions that events occurring subsequent to the filing of an application may render the application without object such that the Court is not called upon to give a decision thereon (see Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 26, para. 46; and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 131, para. 45).
However, it considers that this is not such a case. The change which has occurred in the situation of Mr. Yerodia has not in fact put an end to the dispute between the Parties and has not deprived the Application of its object. The Congo argues that the arrest warrant issued by the Belgian judicial authorities against Mr. Yerodia was and remains unlawful. It asks the Court to hold that the warrant is unlawful, thus providing redress for the moral injury which the warrant allegedly caused to it. The Congo also continues to seek the cancellation of the warrant. For its part, Belgium contends that it did not act in violation of international law and it disputes the Congos submissions. In the view of the Court, it follows from the foregoing that the Application of the Congo is not now without object and that accordingly the case is not moot.
[pp. 184-185 D.O. Van den Wyngaert] 84. ...I was, however, more hesitant on the subject of mootness, where the Court held that the Congos Application was not without object (Judgment, para. 78 (1) (C)). It does not follow from Lockerbie that the question of mootness must be assessed on the date of the filing of the application30. An event subsequent to the filing of an application can still render a case moot. The question therefore was whether, given the fact that Mr. Yerodia is no longer a Foreign Minister today, there was still a case for the respondent State to answer. I think there was, for the following reason: it is not because an allegedly illegal act has ceased to continue in time that the illegality disappears. From that perspective, I think the case was not moot. This, however, is only true for the Congos first claim (a declaratory judgment solemnly declaring the illegality of Belgiums act). However, I think the case might have been moot regarding the Congos second claim, given the fact that Mr. Yerodia is no longer a Minister today.
If there was an infringement of international law in the year 2000 (which I do not think exists, for the reasons set out above), it has certainly ceased to exist today. Belgiums alleged breach of an international obligation, if such an obligation existed - which I doubt - was in any event a breach of an obligation not of a continuing character. If the Court would take its own reasoning about immunities to its logical conclusion (the temporal linkage between the protection of immunities and the function of the Foreign Minister), then it should have reached the conclusion that the Congos third and fourth submissions should have been rejected.