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ICJ rules Djibouti not entitled to France documents under international agreement

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] Wednesday rejected [opinion, PDF; press release, PDF; case docket] Djibouti's attempt to obtain records concerning murdered French judge Bernard Borrel [advocacy website, in French; JURIST news archive]. Djibouti claimed that France had breached its obligation under the 1986 Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters to execute Djibouti's request, but the ICJ held that the Convention imposed no obligation. The Court found that the assurance given to Djibouti was improper, as it came from a government official and not a judge, and that France was not required to carry out the request under the Convention since doing so could be prejudicial to its sovereignty, security, or other essential interest. AP has more.

Borrel was as an adviser to the Djibouti Justice Ministry when he was found dead in 1995 after becoming engaged in a money laundering probe. In a initial investigation Djibouti authorities ruled the death a suicide, but subsequent investigations by the French found that there was a possibility of murder. Borrel's widow has argued that the Djibouti authorities are not neutral and has fought attempts to transfer [JURIST report] an inquiry into Borrel's death to that nation.

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