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International Criminal Law

International Criminal Law (1st edn)

Douglas Guilfoyle
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date: 01 October 2023

p. 39514. Jurisdictional immunitieslocked

p. 39514. Jurisdictional immunitieslocked

  • Douglas GuilfoyleDouglas GuilfoyleAssociate Professor of Law, Monash University


State officials enjoy two types of immunity from the jurisdiction of foreign courts: functional immunity prevents a current or former State official being brought before the courts of a foreign State in respect of his or her official acts (also called immunity ratione materiae); personal immunity is held by certain high officials for the duration of their office and covers both their private and official acts (also called immunity ratione personae). The question then arises whether these immunities are available in the case of international crimes. This chapter first provides an overview of the law of state immunity in general international law. It then considers the immunities enjoyed by individual officials in criminal cases, with a particular emphasis on the law that applies before national courts. It also looks at the applicable law before the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the controversial question of which immunities (if any) are available to the officials of States that are not party to the ICC Statute.

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