Saturday, January 31, 2009

UN Study on Sovereign Immunity

The United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York this week drew attention to a recent study written at the request of the UN's International Law Commission on the immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction:
"The present study is divided into two parts. Part One provides, largely from a historical perspective, a general background overview and context in which immunity of State officials has arisen and has been invoked. This part comprises four sections. Section A seeks to provide the definitional range by which the term 'State officials' would be employed, while section B provides an overview of the notion of jurisdiction — including criminal jurisdiction — which is closely linked to that of immunity. Section C is devoted to addressing the concept of immunity in its diverse manifestations. Diplomatic immunities and the doctrines of State immunity are in particular distinguished to delineate the scope of the present study, and an overview is given of the way in which the Commission dealt with 'sovereign and head of State immunity' when elaborating the draft articles on jurisdictional immunities of States and their property. This section also deals with concepts such as non-justiciability and the act of State doctrine, which appear to be related to immunity — at least to some extent, as they may prevent the exercise of adjudicatory jurisdiction over a dispute involving a foreign State or an official thereof. Finally, section D considers developments whereby immunity issues have been addressed in relation to efforts relating to the establishment of international criminal jurisdiction."

"Part Two is the substantive part and consists of three sections. It describes the scope and implementation of the immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction in light of international treaties, relevant elements of State practice (including domestic legislation and judicial decisions), international jurisprudence and the legal literature."
For some background on the Canadian take on what we call "sovereign immunity":
[Source: UN Pulse]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:38 pm


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