The case explores the factual and legal consequences of climate change, migration and foreign sovereign debt and deals with a dispute between two States: Alfurna (Applicant) and Rutasia (Respondent).
Alfurna is a small island State consisting of two low-lying islands; Rutasia is a large developed country on the mainland. Alfurna borrowed money from Rutasia in order to build walls around its coasts to protect the islands from disappearing due to sea-level rise caused by climate change. But, as the work on the walls was carried out insufficiently the islands became uninhabitable and disappeared. The remaining 3000 Alfurnans flee to Rutasian where they are brought to a detention center. Living conditions in the center are very poor and several Alfurnas die from disease or commit suicide.
As Rutasia cannot provide facilities for all Alfurnans in its territory, it negotiates an agreement with Saydee which agrees to receive half of the migrants. As Saydee has a poor human rights record the Alfurnans try to stop their proposed transfer by filing a law suit in the Rutasian Supreme Court which denies the motion.
At the same time, Alfurna ceases to pay its debt and enters into negotiations with other States about the cession of territory and the resettlement of its citizens. Alfuna succeeds in leasing Nasatima Island from Finutafu.
Because Alfurna defaults on its payments under the loan agreement, Rutasia decides to seize Alfurnan funds held Rutasian banks.
Alfurna and Rutasia agree to bring their dispute to the ICJ to determine whether Alfurna is still a State, whether Rutasia mistreated the Alfurnan migrants, whether Rutasia has a right to transfer the migrants to Saydee and whether Rutasia was entitled to seize the Alfurnan funds.