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Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Guinea v.

Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Brief Fact Summary. A state responsibility, diplomatic protection case on behalf of its national,
Diallo, was filed by the Republic of Guinea (Guinea) (P) against the Democratic Republic of Congo
(D.R.C.) (D) for allegedly violating Diallo’s right; however, Guinea’s (P) claims were contended by
the D.R.C (D) as inadmissible because local remedies had not been exhausted.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. As a matter of grace, the possibility of reconsideration by an


administrative authority of an administrative decision does not constitute a local remedy that must
be exhausted before the decision can be challenged in an international proceeding.

Facts. A state responsibility, diplomatic protection case was filed by Guinea (P) on behalf of its
national, Diallo, against the D.R.C. (D) in the International Court of Justice. Guinea’s (P) suit was
based on the allegation that Diallo, who had resided in D.R.C. for 32 years, had been arrested
and imprisoned without trial by the defendant’s authorities, detained in violation of his fundamental
human rights, and his investments, property, and businesses unlawfully expropriated.
The D.R.C (D) however expelled Diallo by refusing him entry into the country after he had in local
proceedings, unsuccessfully attempted to recover the sums owed him by the D.R.C’s (D)
companies. The “refusal of entry” is not appealable under the D.R.C.’s (D) law. Based on these
allegations, Guinea (P) concluded that the treatment melted out on Diallo, contravened
international law for which the D.R.C. (D) was responsible. On their part, the D.R.C. (D) contended
that the allegations were not admissible on the premise that local remedies had not been
exhausted including the reconsideration by its Prime Minister. So, the requirement for the exercise
of diplomatic protection which includes exhaustion of local remedies was not met by Diallo.

Issue. As a matter of grace, can reconsideration by an administrative authority of an


administrative decision constitute a local remedy which must be exhausted before the decision
can be challenged in an international proceeding?

Held. (Judge not stated in casebook excerpt). No. As a matter of grace, the possibility of
reconsideration by an administrative authority of an administrative decision does not constitute a
local remedy that must be exhausted before the decision can be challenged in an international
proceeding. The principle that all local remedies must be exhausted before international
proceedings maybe instituted is a well enshrined rule of customary international law that provides
the state against whom the claim is made the opportunity to redress any wrongs by its own means
and within the framework of its own legal system. Legal and administrative remedies must be
exhausted but administrative remedies can only be considered for purposes of the local rule if
they are aimed at vindicating a right and not at obtaining a favor, unless they constitute an
essential prerequisite for the admissibility of subsequent contentious proceedings. In this case,
the possibility of having the Prime Minister, who holds the administrative authority, to retract his
decision as a matter of grace does not constitute a local remedy to be exhausted. The D.R.C.’s
(D) objection to the expulsion claim must therefore be dismissed because it failed to show that it
provided that effective remedies were exhausted.

Discussion. The rule at issue in this case which is “the rule of local remedies”, originally
developed in the area of diplomatic protection has been extended to the area of human rights. It
is primarily designed to ensure respect for the sovereignty of the host state, which is allowed to
resolve the dispute by its own means before international mechanisms are invoked.