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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the main and most pressing legal issues concerning jurisdictional immunities of the state in international law, specifically looking at the most recent international decision on the scope of state immunity—the Jurisdictional Immunities case of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The 2012 judgment by the ICJ in the Jurisdictional Immunities case has reinvigorated the debate surrounding the question whether states enjoy immunity before the courts of other states in questions of grave human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law. Jurisdictional immunity is not absolute anymore, and it is now accepted that private law acts of states can be subjected to adjudication before foreign national courts, whereas public law acts cannot. This raises the question of whether the plea for immunity still is a purely procedural principle or whether it is now also shaped by questions of substantive law.

Keywords: international courts and tribunals, jurisdiction, statehood, jurisdiction of states, organs of states, immunities, International Court of Justice, human rights, international humanitarian law, immunity from jurisdiction, relationship between international and domestic law

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