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ICJ dismisses Congo human rights case against Rwanda

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website], the judicial arm of the United Nations, ruled [judgment, PDF; press release] Friday that it does not have jurisdiction over a case filed by the Democratic Republic of Congo against Rwanda on charges of aggression and human rights abuses stemming from the 1998-2003 civil war [Global Security backgrounder]. The ICJ asserted that Rwanda has not accepted UN conventions against human rights crimes like torture and degrading behavior, and therefore the ICJ could not rule [ICJ jurisdiction rules] on the charges upon which Congo based its case. Although the ICJ is responsible for resolving legal disputes between nations, it can only handle the case if the states concerned have joined UN treaties and conventions. Congo filed the suit [ICJ press release] against Rwanda in 2002, alleging armed aggression, mass slaughter, rape, arbitrary detentions, systematic looting and assassinations, while asking Rwanda to withdraw its troops. Public hearings [ICJ docket; JURIST report] began in the case last July. Congo recently brought a successful suit against Uganda [JURIST report], claiming that Uganda violated Congo's sovereignty during Congo's civil war. Reuters has more.

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