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Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo)

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    Bloomberg Law

    Citation. I.C.J., 2007 I.C.J. ____.

    Brief Fact Summary. A state responsibility, diplomatic protection case on behalf of its national, Diallo, was filed by the Republic of Guinea (Guinea) (P) against the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) (D) for allegedly violating Diallo’s right; however, Guinea’s (P) claims were contended by the D.R.C (D) as inadmissible because local remedies had not been exhausted.


    Synopsis of Rule of Law. As a matter of grace, the possibility of reconsideration by an administrative authority of an administrative decision does not constitute a local remedy that must be exhausted before the decision can be challenged in an international proceeding.


    Facts. A state responsibility, diplomatic protection case was filed by Guinea (P) on behalf of its national, Diallo, against the D.R.C. (D) in the International Court of Justice. Guinea’s (P) suit was based on the allegation that Diallo, who had resided in D.R.C. for 32 years, had been arrested and imprisoned without trial by the defendant’s authorities, detained in violation of his fundamental human rights, and his investments, property, and businesses unlawfully expropriated.
    The D.R.C (D) however expelled Diallo by refusing him entry into the country after he had in local proceedings, unsuccessfully attempted to recover the sums owed him by the D.R.C’s (D) companies. The “refusal of entry” is not appealable under the D.R.C.’s (D) law. Based on these allegations, Guinea (P) concluded that the treatment melted out on Diallo, contravened international law for which the D.R.C. (D) was responsible. On their part, the D.R.C. (D) contended that the allegations were not admissible on the premise that local remedies had not been exhausted including the reconsideration by its Prime Minister. So, the requirement for the exercise of diplomatic protection which includes exhaustion of local remedies was not met by Diallo.


    Issue. As a matter of grace, can reconsideration by an administrative authority of an administrative decision constitute a local remedy which must be exhausted before the decision can be challenged in an international proceeding?


    Held. (Judge not stated in casebook excerpt). No. As a matter of grace, the possibility of reconsideration by an administrative authority of an administrative decision does not constitute a local remedy that must be exhausted before the decision can be challenged in an international proceeding. The principle that all local remedies must be exhausted before international proceedings maybe instituted is a well enshrined rule of customary international law that provides the state against whom the claim is made the opportunity to redress any wrongs by its own means and within the framework of its own legal system. Legal and administrative remedies must be exhausted but administrative remedies can only be considered for purposes of the local rule if they are aimed at vindicating a right and not at obtaining a favor, unless they constitute an essential prerequisite for the admissibility of subsequent contentious proceedings. In this case, the possibility of having the Prime Minister, who holds the administrative authority, to retract his decision as a matter of grace does not constitute a local remedy to be exhausted. The D.R.C.’s (D) objection to the expulsion claim must therefore be dismissed because it failed to show that it provided that effective remedies were exhausted.


    Discussion. The rule at issue in this case which is “the rule of local remedies”, originally developed in the area of diplomatic protection has been extended to the area of human rights. It is primarily designed to ensure respect for the sovereignty of the host state, which is allowed to resolve the dispute by its own means before international mechanisms are invoked.



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