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NATO, International Organizations and Functional Immunity

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image of International Organizations Law Review

The development of international law vis-à-vis international organizations has been limited and not seen an evolution of mechanisms to settle conflicts involving international organizations. In a world in which the role and importance of international organizations continues to grow, their opaque status under international law is a problem. This article discusses the position of the North Atlantic treaty Organization (‘NATO’) as an international organization under international law within the context of military operations. If NATO has a distinct legal personality and relevant conduct can be attributed to it, it could face potential claims. In this article I will argue that the procedural bar of functional immunity is limiting claimants from bringing such claims, not only impeding access to justice for individual claimants, but also obstructing the development of the position of international organizations under international law, and that the scope and operation of functional immunity should therefore be limited.

Affiliations: 1: International Law Adviser, British Red Cross, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL,


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