Immunity of International Organizations


Immunity rules are part and parcel of the law of international organizations. It has long been accepted that international organizations and their staff need to enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of national courts. However, it is the application of these rules in practice that increasingly causes controversy. Claims against international organizations are brought before national courts by those who allegedly suffer from their activities. These can be both natural and legal persons such as companies. National courts, in particular lower courts, have often been less willing to recognize the immunity of the organization concerned than the organization’s founding fathers. Likewise, public opinion and legal writings frequently criticize international organizations for invoking their immunity and for the lack of adequate means of redress for claimants.

It is against this background that an international conference was organized at Leiden University in June 2013. A number of highly qualified academics and practitioners gave presentations and prepared written contributions that are collected in this book. This book is published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Organizations Law Review, in which these contributions have also been published (Vol. 10, issue 2, 2014).

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Niels Blokker is Professor of International Institutional Law ( Schermers Chair) at Leiden University.

Nico Schrijver is Professor of International Law and Academic Director of the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University.
1 International Organizations: The Untouchables?
Niels Blokker
2 Immunity of International Organizations: The Work of the International Law Commission
Johan G. Lammers
3 Do International Organizations Enjoy Immunity Under Customary International Law?
Michael Wood
4 Should the 2004 UN State Immunity Convention serve as a model/starting point for a future UN Convention on the Immunity of International Organizations?
Philippa Webb
5 Immunity of the United Nations: Practice and Challenges
Bruce C. Rashkow
6 Privileges and Immunities of the World Health Organization: Practice and Challenges
Gian Luca Burci and Egle Granziera
7 The Privileges and Immunities of the World Intellectual Property Organization: Practice and Challenges
Edward Kwakwa and Marie-Lea Rols
8 Immunities of the European Union
Ramses A. Wessel
9 Immunities of International Organizations: A NATO View
Peter Olson
10 The Immunity of International Organizations in the United Kingdom
Chanaka Wickremasinghe
11 Austrian Courts and the Immunity of International Organizations
Kirsten Schmalenbach
12 Belgian Courts and the Immunity of International Organizations
Eric De Brabandere
13 Italian Courts and the Immunity of International Organizations
Beatrice I. Bonafè
14 The Jurisdictional Immunity of International Organizations in the Netherlands and the View from Strasbourg
Thomas Henquet
15 To What Extent Can and Should National Courts ‘Fill the Accountability Gap’?
August Reinisch
16 Beyond Srebrenica and Haiti: Exploring Alternative Remedies against the United Nations
Nico Schrijver
All academics and practitioners interested in immunity of international organizations.