International Court of Justice holds hearing to determine reparations arising from DRC armed conflict


Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

The International Court of Justice is holding a final hearing in the case of Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v Uganda).

This phase of the case concerns the determination of reparations owed by both parties for breaches of international law occurring during the armed conflict in the DRC between 1998 and 2003 as found by the Court in its 2005 Merits Judgment.

In that Judgment, the Court held that the parties were responsible for the following internationally wrongful acts:

  1. Uganda (illegal use of force, violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the DRC, military intervention, occupation of Ituri, violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, looting, plunder and exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources); and
  2. DRC (breach of the inviolability of Uganda’s diplomatic premises and archives and maltreatment of Ugandan diplomats).

The hearing is unusual as it involves the questioning by the parties of court appointed expert witnesses. This has only ever taken place once before at the ICJ in the Corfu Channel Case (UK v Albania) in 1949.

Professor Philippe Sands QC and Michelle Butler are representing the DRC and Professor Sean Murphy is representing Uganda as counsel and advocates before the ICJ.