Measures of Constraint and the Immunity of International Organisations
‘Measures of Constraint and the Immunity of International Organisations’ in Tom Ruys and Nicolas Angelet, Cambridge Handbook on Immunities and International Law (Cambridge University Press 2018)
Grotius Centre Working Paper Series No 2018/081-PIL
27 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 14, 2018
Alongside immunity from jurisdiction, international organisations generally enjoy immunity from execution. In addition, their premises and archives are usually inviolable, thus barring any judicial and administrative measures of constraint against them. These principles are mostly inserted in international treaties and are widespread. However, in view of the number of international organisations that exist, there are proportionally not many cases which discuss measures of constraint against international organisations in detail. There are two – mainly practical – reasons for this. Firstly, claims against international organisations are unlikely to be submitted to domestic courts and tribunals because of the existence of a rather absolute regime of immunity from jurisdiction of international organisations, thus implying that any entity or person wishing to enforce its claims against an organisation should first pass the jurisdictional bar. Secondly, in practice international organisations have a tendency to voluntarily fulfil any pecuniary obligations resulting from a judgment or arbitral award.
In light of the importance of the theoretical bases of the immunity from execution of international organisations, not the least on the scope of such immunity, I will first start with a discussion of the rationale behind the granting of privileges and immunities to international organisations, with a focus on the immunity from execution. Secondly, I will discuss the sources and thirdly the scope of the immunity from execution. In the fourth section, I will analyse the types of measures of constraint international organisations can face and discuss whether or not these are covered by the immunity from execution. I will focus on the most common types of measures of constraint and apply the principles set out in the previous sections to these specific measures.
Keywords: immunity, enforcement, measures of constraint, international organisations
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