Belgium states in its Application that, “on 3 July 2001, taking the position that the Swiss shareholders had breached their contractual commitments and non-contractual duties, causing [the Belgian shareholders] injury”, the Belgian shareholders sued the Swiss shareholders in the commercial court of Brussels, seeking damages to compensate for the lost investments and for the expenses incurred “as a result of the defaults by the Swiss shareholders”. After finding jurisdiction in the matter, that court “found various instances of wrongdoing on the part of the Swiss shareholders but rejected the claims for damages brought by the Belgian shareholders”. Both Parties appealed against this decision to the Court of Appeal of Brussels, which in 2005 by partial judgment upheld the Belgian courts’ jurisdiction over the dispute on the basis of the Lugano Convention. The proceedings on the merits are pending before that court and the case will be pleaded there in February and May 2010.
In various proceedings concerning the application for a debt-restructuring moratorium (sursis concordataire) submitted by the Swiss companies to the Zurich courts, the Belgian shareholders sought to declare their debt claims against them. It is asserted that the Swiss courts, including in particular the Federal Supreme Court, have however refused to recognize the future Belgian decisions on the civil liability of the Swiss shareholders or to stay their proceedings pending the outcome of the Belgian proceedings. According to Belgium, these refusals violate various provisions of the Lugano Convention and “the rules of general international law that govern the exercise of State authority, in particular in the judicial domain”. (részlet, ICJ press release)