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100- Difference Relating to Immunity from Legal Process of a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was seized by the Secretary-General of the United Nation in order to give an advisory opinion on the applicability of article 22 section VI of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN to a special rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights.

Order of 10-08-1998.pdf

In this instance, the Special Rapporteur, a Malaysian citizen, was accused of having made defamatory remarks against his country of origin. He was sued for USD 112 million as compensation for the alleged prejudice. As for the UN, the organisation maintained that its agent’s remarks had been made in the course of its duties and as such, their author was protected by the principle of immunity from jurisdiction provided for in article 22 of the aforementioned Convention. During this proceedings, several States, including Costa Rica, Italia or the USA intervened in order to give their respective positions on the legal matters raised by this question.

Having ascertained its competence over the question, the ICJ ruled that a special rapporteur should be considered as an expert and therefore be subject to the provisions of article 22 Section VI of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN.  Having sovereignly assessed the facts in this case. it decided that not only the remarks made by the special rapporteur during the interview were covered by the privilege of immunity from jurisdiction but also that the Government of Malaysia had failed its international obligations because of the unjustified delays in the proceedings before the State’s Courts.

Advisory Opinion of 29-04-1999.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.