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Full Access The Immunities of the International Monetary Fund’s Executive Head: The Quest for Legal Certainty in the “Strauss-Kahn Affair” *

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The Immunities of the International Monetary Fund’s Executive Head: The Quest for Legal Certainty in the “Strauss-Kahn Affair” *

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By looking closely at the New York State (County of Bronx) Supreme Court’s decision on the “Strauss-Kahn affair”, I have discussed the nature and scope of the immunities of top international officials, in particular the executive heads of specialized agencies of the U.N., with specific reference to the I.M.F.’s Managing Director. One of the major shortcomings of the decision is its superficial approach to the (international and U.S.) law applicable to the case. That approach prevents the Court from discerning the significant lacuna in the I.M.F. Articles of Agreement, that is to say the lack of a specific rule conferring immunity on the higher official of such organization. Based on a systematic interpretation of that Agreement, as well as of all other relevant international and U.S. norms, I have shown how that lacuna cannot be filled and interpreted in the sense of either excluding or asserting, with certainty, the application of personal – in addition to functional – immunity to the Managing Director. The Court has therefore lost an opportunity to reveal a gap in the law that I.M.F. Member States or the Fund itself should fill as soon as possible in order to provide legal certainty and strike a fine and clear balance between the victims of international organizations high officials’ conduct and the independence and autonomy of international organizations

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor in Law, Luiss Guido Carli University, Via Parenzo 11, 00198, Rome, Italy, dgallo@luiss.it

10.1163/15723747-00901020
/content/journals/10.1163/15723747-00901020
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By looking closely at the New York State (County of Bronx) Supreme Court’s decision on the “Strauss-Kahn affair”, I have discussed the nature and scope of the immunities of top international officials, in particular the executive heads of specialized agencies of the U.N., with specific reference to the I.M.F.’s Managing Director. One of the major shortcomings of the decision is its superficial approach to the (international and U.S.) law applicable to the case. That approach prevents the Court from discerning the significant lacuna in the I.M.F. Articles of Agreement, that is to say the lack of a specific rule conferring immunity on the higher official of such organization. Based on a systematic interpretation of that Agreement, as well as of all other relevant international and U.S. norms, I have shown how that lacuna cannot be filled and interpreted in the sense of either excluding or asserting, with certainty, the application of personal – in addition to functional – immunity to the Managing Director. The Court has therefore lost an opportunity to reveal a gap in the law that I.M.F. Member States or the Fund itself should fill as soon as possible in order to provide legal certainty and strike a fine and clear balance between the victims of international organizations high officials’ conduct and the independence and autonomy of international organizations

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2012-01-01
2016-12-04

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