State Immunity

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ICC Issues Detailed Decision on Bashir’s Immunity (. . . At long Last . . . ) But Gets the Law Wrong

This week the ICC issued two decisions regarding whether Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir is immune from arrest in ICC parties (see here and here). The decisions were issued in the context of proceedings considering whether Malawi and Chad had breached their obligations of cooperation under the Rome Statute by failing to arrest Bashir when he visited those countries in late 2011. The Malawi decision, issued a day before the Chad decision, is the first detailed decision regarding the immunity of Bashir. In summary, the Pre-Trial Chamber held that: “Chamber finds that customary international law creates an exception to Head of State immunity when international courts seek a Head of State's arrest for the commission of international crimes. There is no conflict between Malawi's obligations towards the Court and its obligations under customary international law; therefore, article 98(1) of the Statute does not apply.” (para. 43) The Chamber therefore held that Malawi (and Chad) by failing to arrest and surrender Bashir had failed to comply…

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US Appeals Court holds that Former Foreign Officials Entitled to Immunity in Civil Suit alleging War Crimes

The Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has recently (April 16, 09) held  in Matar v. Dichter that the former head of the Israeli General Security Service is immune in a civil suit brought under the US Aliens Tort Claims Act (28 USC  § 1350) alleging war crimes and extrajudicial killing. The suit relates to Dichter's participation…

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