The Immunities of Visiting Forces
Forthcoming, Tom Ruys, Nicolas Angelet and Luca Ferro (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Immunities and International Law (CUP, 2018)
24 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2018
Date Written: March 22, 2018
This chapter explains how armed forces occupy a unique position amongst other State organs, in light of their regular deployment outside their national territory. This unique position has resulted in a special immunity regime under the so-called law of ‘visiting forces’. The chapter traces the evolution of this lex specialis, from the bilateral Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) of the early 20th century until the conclusion of key multilateral regimes, such as the NATO SOFA and the UN Model SOFA, both of which are examined in greater detail. The chapter concludes that members of visiting forces enjoy functional immunity in civil and criminal matters arising in connection with the performance of their official duties. Furthermore, where they are deployed in the challenging operational environments that characterise peace support and security assistance missions, visiting forces normally enjoy complete immunity from criminal jurisdiction. At the same time, bespoke treaty instruments continue to play an important role in adjusting and complementing these two general principles.
Keywords: visiting forces, immunities, jurisdiction, status of forces agreements
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation