Head of State Immunity and the Rome Statute: A Critique of the ptc’s Malawi and drc Decisions

In: International Criminal Law Review

The scope and effect of the Head of State immunity doctrine before the International Criminal Court has prompted much discussion following the 2011 decision of the first Pre-Trial Chamber concerning the immunity of serving Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir. The ptcI held that, as a matter of customary international law, there existed an exception to Head of State immunity where such official is sought by an international court with jurisdiction, here the icc. In an apparent retreat, a differently constituted ptc in 2014 based the inapplicability of such immunity on the terms of Security Council Resolution 1593. Using the 2011 and 2014 ptc decisions as a critical lens, and drawing upon recent material, this article assesses the proper application of Head of State immunity under Article 98(1) of the Rome Statute.

  • 63

    Boschierosupra note 1 p. 652. There is also an issue as to whether a Security Council referral is capable of being a source of the court’s jurisdiction of which see: Kiyani supra note 1 p. 482.

  • 64

    Nouwensupra note 37.

  • 65

    Boschierosupra note 1 p. 640.

  • 75

    Boschierosupra note 1 p. 641.

  • 77

    Boschierosupra note 1 p. 643–644.

  • 87

    Boschierosupra note 1 p.637.

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