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ICJ schedules hearings in France-Djibouti dispute over judge's death

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] at The Hague announced [press release, PDF] Friday that hearings in a case involving France and Djibouti will begin January 21, 2008. The dispute [ICJ case archive] between the two countries is over whether a French judge has the authority to summon high-level Djibouti witnesses to investigate the possible assassination of French judge Bernard Borrel [advocacy website, in French] who was found dead near the city of Djibouti in 1995 while engaged in a money laundering probe. Borrel's death was originally ruled a suicide, but French investigators now claim he may have been murdered.

In January 2006, Djibouti filed an application [text, in French, PDF] asking the ICJ to arbitrate [JURIST report] the disagreement over testimony. Djibouti maintains that France has no right to summon Djibouti officials because of diplomatic immunity. France consented to ICJ jurisdiction [JURIST report; French Foreign Affairs letter, in French, PDF] in the matter in August 2006. The UN News Service has more.

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