The ICJ has announced today that Congo has withdrawn its application against France in the case concerning Certain Criminal Proceedings in France (Republic of the Congo v. France). (ICJ Press Release). The case dealt with the lawfulness of criminal proceedings in France taken under the principle universal jurisdiction. A notable feature of the case was also that the ICJ’s jurisdiction was based on forum prorogatum, i.e. France’s consent that the specific case be brought against it.
I am myself not at all familiar with the history of the litigation, but I find it quite odd for an application to be discontinued at such a late stage in the proceedings. The case has been pending since 2002, and it has gone through no less than three (3!) rounds of written pleadings. Oral proceedings were due to start on 6 December this year, i.e. a month before the request for discontinuance was filed with the Court. I really wonder what precipitated such a turn of events. Comments by readers with some insights into the matter would be most welcome.