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There is arbitrary detention in every country in the world today. It knows no boundaries and countless people are subjected to arbitrary detention every year. But what is detention and what makes it arbitrary? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) declares that “[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”1 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a multilateral treaty, goes further: “[e]veryone has the right to liberty and security of the person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are establishment by law.”2
For the first time since the Corfu Channel case of 1949, the International Court of Justice (Court) has awarded damages. The Court did so on June 19, 2012, in its third judgment in the Diallo case, brought by the Republic of Guinea for human rights violations committed against a Guinean citizen by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The judgment was also the Court’s first on damages in a human rights case.
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