Within the debate on the attribution of international responsibility to international organizations and/or its Member States, the role that the internal rules of the organization may play is not settled. The competence-based approach, where a relationship is supposed to exist between the EU/Member States’ division of competences and international responsibility, and the normative control doctrine, where the Union is deemed responsible for the actions of its Member States in the course of implementing EU law, are at the heart of such debate. This contribution aims to investigate whether the recent practice concerning the Union’s international responsibility in the fields of fisheries and investment adds clarifying elements. The analysis will specifically focus on the 2015 ITLOSAdvisory Opinion (Case No 21), an award under the Energy Charter Treaty (Electrabel v Hungary), and the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms laid down in the recent EU bilateral investment agreements. Although one of these cases seems to implicitly recognise the normative control as a rule for the attribution of conduct to the EU when its Member States act implementing Union acts, what is missing, however, is a clear and deep debate on its specific elements. Discussions on a competence-based approach and normative control seem generally confused at the EU as well as at the international community level, suggesting that important opportunities have been missed to properly re-open the debate on the role of the organizations’ internal rules for the attribution of international responsibility.
Although formally provided for in particular statutes, certain international administrative tribunals continue to hold oral hearings—if at all—only on the rarest of occasions. With specific attention to the International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal, the present paper aims 1) at recapitulating essential holdings of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the right to access to a court in the context of employment-related claims against international organizations; and 2) at examining the relevance of oral hearings in the determination of proportionality of organizational immunity. The analysis shows that, in principle, the denial of oral hearings by international administrative tribunals results in the duty of states to afford individuals access to a court. In the realm of international law, a conflict with the obligation to grant immunity ensues. As yet, domestic courts have remained reluctant to overrule immunity on human rights grounds.
Contemporary international relations have resulted not only in the establishment of intergovernmental organizations (‘IGOs’), but also in the emergence of certain IGO-like entities which are entering into ‘diplomatic-like’ relations with states, characterised by privileges and immunities similar to those provided under classic diplomatic law. This paper analyses such diplomatic-like relations between states and a number of these IGO-like entities primarily in relation to so-called ‘trans-governmental organizations’ (‘TGOs)’. In addition, organizations composed of formally non-state entities, but with an undoubtedly public purpose, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (‘ICRC’) or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (‘IFRC’), as well as other so-called ‘advanced’ non-governmental organizations (‘NGOs’), will also be discussed due to their participation in legally regulated international, diplomatic-like relations with states and IGOs.
When it comes to financing the work of international organizations, voluntary contributions from both state and non-state actors are growing in size and importance. The World Health Organization (WHO) is an extreme case: voluntary contributions – mostly earmarked for particular purposes – comprise more than 80 percent of its funds. Moreover, non-state actors supply almost half of WHO’s funds, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ranking as the second-highest contributor after the United States. A number of public-health and international relations scholars have expressed alarm over these trends, arguing that heavy reliance on voluntary contributions is inconsistent with genuine multilateralism. Relying on interviews with current and former WHO officials, our study explores the causes and consequences of these trends, and recent efforts by member states and the WHO secretariat to reconcile growing reliance on voluntary contributions with multilateral governance. We describe the headway WHO has made in mitigating the risks associated with heavy reliance on voluntary contributions – as well as the challenges that persist. Most importantly, we argue that multilateralism is not categorically incompatible with reliance on voluntary contributions from both state and non-state actors. Collective multilateral decision-making is not a binary feature, either present or absent. Even if the final decision to provide voluntary contributions is up to individual donors, international institutions have opportunities to regulate such contributions both in terms of substance and process. The more heavily regulated voluntary contributions are, the more embedded they become in collective decisions, and the less tension there is between multilateralism and reliance on voluntary contributions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is obligated to pursue the control and eradication of infectious disease. This mandate was enshrined in the 1946 constitutive treaty and has been repeatedly reinforced by World Health Assembly resolutions, programmes, and campaigns. In 1951 a purpose-built instrument – the International Sanitary Regulations – was adopted to strengthen the international organization’s means for preventing the international spread of disease while minimising disruption to international traffic and trade. The Regulations – which are now known as ‘the International Health Regulations’ (IHR) – were substantively revised in 2005 and are integral to the WHO’s mission. Importantly, however, as custodian of the revised IHR the WHO has periodically failed to take full advantage of the treaty’s provisions or use it as intended. This article discusses the importance of the IHR, the WHO’s obligations with respect to ensuring the correct functioning of the 2005 treaty, and outlines some measures that will enable the WHO to main stream the treaty and ensure fuller utilization.