The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest court of the United Nations said on Wednesday that it lacks jurisdiction to rule on a request by Equatorial Guinea to halt a French money-laundering case against Teodoro Obiang, vice president of the oil rich African country.
Equatorial Guinea had in October called on the UN’s highest court to urgently order France to stop a criminal case against its vice president and son to the country’s president, arguing that he is immune from prosecution.
The central African country filed a case further accusing France of breaching international law by ignoring Obiang’s immunity and the diplomatic immunity of the Avenue Foch property. With the new development however it means prosecutors are okay to proceed with the trial.
Teodoro was due to appear before a French court in the week that Equatorial Guinea petitioned the UN top court. He is accused of acquiring real estate, luxury cars and other goods in France with public funds from his country.
The case is part of a long- running corruption probe targeting leaders from Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo, alleging they used public funds to enrich themselves.
The trial is due to start in Paris on January 2. He denies the charges and is most likely not going to appear in court personally.