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Chapter

Cover International Criminal Law

14. Jurisdictional immunities  

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.

Chapter

Cover International Law

12. Immunities Enjoyed by Officials of States and International Organizations  

Chanaka Wickremasinghe

This chapter examines the immunities enjoyed by various categories of officials of States and international organizations. It identifies jurisdictional immunity as one of the key legal techniques by which diplomatic relations and, more broadly, international relations and cooperation can be maintained. It recognises that recent developments in international law have increasingly required that immunities be scrutinised and justified, particularly where they impact on individual rights. Among the most striking of such challenges to immunities are those that have arisen in relation to measures which seek to bring an end to the impunity of persons who commit the most serious international crimes, including measures such as the development of extraterritorial jurisdiction and the establishment of international criminal tribunals. A range of judicial decisions is reviewed in order to determine how international law has attempted to reconcile such conflicting priorities in this respect.

Chapter

Cover International Law

9. Immunities  

This chapter explores the concept of immunities. Immunity from jurisdiction describes the doctrines developed in domestic courts over time to avoid infringements on State sovereignty whenever possible. Generally speaking, immunities seek to prevent foreign courts from exercising jurisdiction regarding the conduct of another State, its agents, officials, or diplomatic representatives, as well as from adjudicating on inter-State disputes without their consent. Due in part to the historical conflation of State and sovereign that defined the scope of immunity, several mechanisms have been developed that allow various categories of officials of States to invoke immunity in the courts of another State. Often an exemption from local jurisdiction exists in relation to mundane violations such as driving offences or administrative matters. However, exemption from jurisdiction has important policy implications if the act in question constitutes an international crime.

Chapter

Cover Cassese's International Law

6. Immunities of States and State Officials  

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalà

A corollary of the obligation to respect the sovereignty of other States is the recognition of the immunities of States and State officials. This chapter examines the immunities enjoyed by States from the jurisdiction of foreign courts and from execution proceedings against their property and assets. The discussion addresses the issue in general terms and then specifically tackles two issues of significant practical importance, namely the operation of State immunity in employment disputes and in cases where violations of peremptory norms are at stake. It also analyses the functional and personal immunities of certain types of State official, namely diplomatic and consular agents, as well as high-ranking officials, such as Heads of State and Government and Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Book

Cover International Law Concentrate

Ilias Bantekas and Efthymios Papastavridis

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. International Law Concentrate provides a comprehensive overview of international law and includes key information, key cases, revision tips, and exam questions and answers. Topics covered include the nature of international law and the international system, sources of international law, and the law of treaties. The book also looks at the relationship between international and domestic law. It considers personality, statehood, and recognition, as well as sovereignty, jurisdiction, immunity, and the law of the sea. The book describes state responsibility and looks at peaceful settlement of disputes. Finally, it looks at the use of force and human rights.