State Immunity

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Is the Dispute between Germany and Italy over State Immunities Coming to an End (Despite Being Back at the ICJ)?

For nearly two decades Germany and Italy have been embroiled in a dispute over the scope of State immunities under international law. The dispute which relates to the question of compensation for victims of crimes committed by Nazi forces in Italy or against Italian citizens, has recently been resubmitted by Germany to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Germany initially requested that the Court grant provisional measures but as explained below, due to developments over the past few days, Germany withdrew that request and the oral hearings scheduled for this week were cancelled. Three key judgments defined the evolution of the dispute. In 2004, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation boldly read international law to mean that a State’s immunity from the jurisdiction of another State is not available when the action seeks compensation for harm suffered by victims of international crimes. In 2012, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) famously ruled that no such exception exist in customary international law. The Italian legislator fully complied with the ICJ’s…

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Shunning Conventional Wisdom – Italian Courts and State Immunity in Employment Disputes

Introduction  On State immunity in civil proceedings, Italian courts have been pathbreakers, for better or worse. The Italian Supreme Court, in the 50s, developed the restrictive theory of State immunity, now accepted as custom (Ronzitti, Venturini). More recently, Italian courts have poked holes in immunity for international crimes in civil proceedings (Ferrini v Germany,…

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Unilateral Economic Sanctions to Deter and Punish Cyber-Attacks: Are They Here to Stay?

In June 2021 during the Biden-Putin summit, President Biden stated that critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyber-attacks and handed over a list of 16 areas of critical infrastructure that under no circumstance should be targeted by cyber-attacks. This took place after the SolarWinds cyber-attack that was described by SolarWinds Vice-President as “your worst nightmare”.

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The Immunity Saga Reaches Latin America. The Changri-la Case

In September 2021, a new episode in the saga of jurisdictional immunities of States unfolded. The Brazilian Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) ruled that immunity from jurisdiction ceases when faced with unlawful acts connected to human rights violations (decision in Brazilian Portuguese here). The case concerns the Changri-La fishing boat, sunk in 1943 by a…

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Editorial: Germany v Italy: Jurisdictional Immunities – Redux (and Redux and Redux)

Will we ever see closure to this saga at the center of which one finds the somewhat controversial decision of the ICJ of 2012 and the very controversial decision of the Italian Constitutional Court of 2014 rebuffing that decision? There is no need to recap fully the endless ‘puntatas’ in this story which have been followed…

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