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Responsibility and Immunities

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Similarities and Differences between International Organizations and States

image of International Organizations Law Review

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.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer, Birmingham Law School,


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