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Immunity of Former High Ranking State Officials for International Crimes before Foreign National Courts

Amoah, Sara LU (2016) LAGF03 20162
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The purpose of the thesis is to examine to what extent former high ranking state officials are immune for international crimes before foreign national courts. Historically national courts have recognized absolute immunity, but this approach has gradually to some extent changed after the establishment of international tribunals and the International Criminal Court in which official capacity is irrelevant. These courts’ jurisdictions are limited and intended to be complementary to national jurisdictions, therefore the application or non-application of immunity by foreign national courts is an important subject.

The thesis is based largely on the study of judgements by the International Court of Justice and national courts, in particular... (More)
The purpose of the thesis is to examine to what extent former high ranking state officials are immune for international crimes before foreign national courts. Historically national courts have recognized absolute immunity, but this approach has gradually to some extent changed after the establishment of international tribunals and the International Criminal Court in which official capacity is irrelevant. These courts’ jurisdictions are limited and intended to be complementary to national jurisdictions, therefore the application or non-application of immunity by foreign national courts is an important subject.

The thesis is based largely on the study of judgements by the International Court of Justice and national courts, in particular the Arrest Warrant case and the Pinochet case. Comments made by prominent authorities in the field such as Andrea Bianchi, Dapo Akande, Sangeeta Shah and Antonio Cassese are also given consideration.

According to international customary law former high ranking state officials are only entitled to immunity for acts committed in an official capacity (functional immunity). This thesis finds that international crimes can be committed in a such capacity. Criminality does not deprive the act its official character. The context in which international crimes occur and the nature of such acts often imply state involvement. Furthermore, certain international crimes can according to treaties only constitute official acts. However, the Convention against Torture and the Convention for the Protection from Enforced Disappearance lifts immunity for official acts. The Genocide Convention removes immunity at least before courts exercising territorial jurisdiction. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Syftet med denna uppsats är att undersöka i vilken utsträckning före detta högt uppsatta statstjänstemän är immuna för internationella brott framför utländska nationella domstolar. Historisk sett har nationella domstolar erkänt absolut immunitet, men denna inställning har delvis successivt förändrats efter att internationella tribunaler och den Internationella brottmålsdomstolen etablerats i vilka officiell ställning saknar betydelse. Eftersom dessa domstolars jurisdiktioner är begränsade och enbart kompletterar nationella domstolars jurisdiktioner är immunitetsfrågan framför nationella domstolar viktig. 

Uppsatsen är huvudsakligen ett resultat av studier av domar från Internationella domstolen i Haag och nationella domstolar,... (More)
Syftet med denna uppsats är att undersöka i vilken utsträckning före detta högt uppsatta statstjänstemän är immuna för internationella brott framför utländska nationella domstolar. Historisk sett har nationella domstolar erkänt absolut immunitet, men denna inställning har delvis successivt förändrats efter att internationella tribunaler och den Internationella brottmålsdomstolen etablerats i vilka officiell ställning saknar betydelse. Eftersom dessa domstolars jurisdiktioner är begränsade och enbart kompletterar nationella domstolars jurisdiktioner är immunitetsfrågan framför nationella domstolar viktig. 

Uppsatsen är huvudsakligen ett resultat av studier av domar från Internationella domstolen i Haag och nationella domstolar, framförallt fallen Arrest Warrant och Pinochet. Kommentarer av framträdande auktoriteter på området så som Andrea Bianchi, Dapo Akande, Sangeeta Shah och Antonio Cassese beaktas också. 

Enligt internationell sedvanerätt åtnjuter före detta högt uppsatta statstjänstemän immunitet endast för handlingar utförda i en officiell kapacitet (funktionell immunitet). Uppsatsen argumenterar för att internationella brott kan företas i en sådan kapacitet. Kriminalitet berövar inte handlingen dess officiella karaktär. Kontexten i vilken internationella brott företas och sådana handlingars natur innebär att staten ofta är inblandad. Vidare kan en del internationella brott enligt traktater endast utgöra officiella handlingar. Emellertid lyfter Tortyrkonventionen och Konventionen till skydd mot påtvingade försvinnanden immunitet för officiella handlingar. Folkmordskonventionen eliminerar funktionell immunitet åtminstone framför nationella domstolar som utövar territoriell jurisdiktion. (Less)
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author
Amoah, Sara LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20162
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Public International Law
language
English
id
8897325
date added to LUP
2017-02-04 16:53:38
date last changed
2017-02-04 16:53:38
@misc{8897325,
  abstract     = {The purpose of the thesis is to examine to what extent former high ranking state officials are immune for international crimes before foreign national courts. Historically national courts have recognized absolute immunity, but this approach has gradually to some extent changed after the establishment of international tribunals and the International Criminal Court in which official capacity is irrelevant. These courts’ jurisdictions are limited and intended to be complementary to national jurisdictions, therefore the application or non-application of immunity by foreign national courts is an important subject. 

The thesis is based largely on the study of judgements by the International Court of Justice and national courts, in particular the Arrest Warrant case and the Pinochet case. Comments made by prominent authorities in the field such as Andrea Bianchi, Dapo Akande, Sangeeta Shah and Antonio Cassese are also given consideration. 

According to international customary law former high ranking state officials are only entitled to immunity for acts committed in an official capacity (functional immunity). This thesis finds that international crimes can be committed in a such capacity. Criminality does not deprive the act its official character. The context in which international crimes occur and the nature of such acts often imply state involvement. Furthermore, certain international crimes can according to treaties only constitute official acts. However, the Convention against Torture and the Convention for the Protection from Enforced Disappearance lifts immunity for official acts. The Genocide Convention removes immunity at least before courts exercising territorial jurisdiction.},
  author       = {Amoah, Sara},
  keyword      = {Public International Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Immunity of Former High Ranking State Officials for International Crimes before Foreign National Courts},
  year         = {2016},
}