International Crimes, Human Rights Violations, and the Subject-Matter Immunity of States and Their Officials
7 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2011
Date Written: November 29, 2011
Past two decades have witnessed an unprecedented increase in litigation in the matters of immunity of States and their officials when they are accused of commission of serious violations of human rights and/or international crimes. National courts in UK, USA and elsewhere, as well as international tribunals have reached diverse decisions on these points, but what is more diverse is the reasoning on which these decisions are based. This talk will examine these decisions as part of State practice, which in its classical meaning also includes acts and positions of legislative and executive branches of government. The argument will then proceed to identify five different grounds on which national courts can and must deny immunity to States and officials in both civil and criminal proceedings when the subject-matter of litigation involves serious violations of human rights and/or international crimes.
Keywords: State immunity, officials' immunity, restrictive doctrine, access to courts, torture, jus cogens, State responsibility
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