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Responsibility and Immunities

Similarities and Differences between International Organizations and States

Alexander Orakhelashvili

Over the past couple of decades, the relative growth of the human-oriented element in the international legal system has been one of the defining characteristics of the process of its evolution. Rules, instruments, practices and institutions for protecting individuals in peacetime as well as during times of war keep multiplying and becoming more imperative. How does the law respond to underlying the dilemmas this presents: through developing a system of effective remedies, or by admitting and tolerating substantial gaps in accountability? The present contribution covers the law of the responsibility of international organizations and the multiple grounds of attribution under it, mainly focusing on the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations and their applicability in practice. It also focuses on the immunities of international organizations, their sources and scope, and on the relationship between their competing or conflicting standards. There is more inter-dependence between the standards under the law of responsibility and those under the law of immunities than often meets the eye, and such inter-dependence is dictated by the orderly operation of both these branches of international law.

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Alexander Orakhelashvili

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Alexander Orakhelashvili

The Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Kosovar authorities in Pristina in 2008 has generated heavy legal and political controversies. The delivery by the International Court of Justice of its advisory opinion on Kosovo unilateral declaration of independence in 2010 has not led to the elimination of unilateralist positions as to Kosovo’s status. Such unilateralist approach, favouring Kosovo’s independence either in principle or in practice, has since been adopted by the local Kosovar authorities, a number of governments and by the European Union. This contribution addresses the merit of such unilateralist positions and examines whether these positions could adversely affect the legal position as to Kosovo’s status under general international law as well as un Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

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Alexander Orakhelashvili

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Alexander Orakhelashvili