|III.||The International Court of Justice|
|2.||THE JURISDICTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE|
|2.2.||Conditions for a Decision on the Merits|
|2.2.1.||Exhaustion of Local Remedies|
Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000
(Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)
Judgment of 14 February 2002
[pp. 16- 18] 37. The fourth Belgian objection reads as follows:
That, in the light of the new circumstances concerning Mr. Yerodia Ndombasi, the case has assumed the character of an action of diplomatic protection but one in which the individual being protected has failed to exhaust local remedies, and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction in the case and/or that the application is inadmissible.
40. The Court notes that the Congo has never sought to invoke before it Mr. Yerodias personal rights. It considers that, despite the change in professional situation of Mr. Yerodia, the character of the dispute submitted to the Court by means of the Application has not changed: the dispute still concerns the lawfulness of the arrest warrant issued on 11 April 2000 against a person who was at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Congo, and the question whether the rights of the Congo have or have not been violated by that warrant. As the Congo is not acting in the context of protection of one of its nationals, Belgium cannot rely upon the rules relating to the exhaustion of local remedies.
In any event, the Court recalls that an objection based on non-exhaustion of local remedies relates to the admissibility of the application (see Interhandel, Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1959, p. 26; Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1989, p. 42, para. 49). Under settled jurisprudence, the critical date for determining the admissibility of an application is the date on which it is filed (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, pp. 25-26, paras. 43-44; 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, pp. 130-131, paras. 42-43). Belgium accepts that, on the date on which the Congo filed the Application instituting proceedings, the Congo had a direct legal interest in the matter, and was asserting a claim in its own name.