1967

T.M.C. Asser Instituut on front page of national newspaper

Chombe (Dutch spelling: Tsjombe) was a politician in Congo-Kinshasa during the years following that country’s independence in 1960. After a coup by colonel Mobutu he fled to Algeria and was subsequently sentenced to death in his absence by a military court. He was never extradited and died two years, later still in Algeria, of a heart attack.
This in itself has nothing to do with the Asser Institute. However, on 22 July 1967 a Dutch national newspaper opened its front page with the heading “Chombe listens without emotion to his death sentence”. This was when an Algerian court authorised his extradition to Congo. Next to the feature on this historic event was a notice about a “Card system on European law” by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, “bringing order in the muddle of EEC legislation” (see also 1973, 1977 and 1981).
Bringing order in chaos was indeed a necessity, since the European Communities themselves had no index of any form for their documents from 1952 until 1968.

Actually this was not the only Asser card system. Until a few years ago there was another one for private international law, the so-called AK-systeem (abbreviation of Asser Kaartsysteem, [Asser Card system]), which in its heyday used to be very popular within the legal community and which was later on still consulted - about once a year - by the library staff for elderly legal professionals (see also 1983).