The International Law Commission held its sixty-fifth session in Geneva from May 6 to June 7 and from July 8 to August 9, 2013. The Commission devoted most of the sixty-fifth session to discussing three topics: immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction; subsequent agreements and subsequent practice in relation to the interpretation of treaties; and protection of persons in the event of disasters. Notably, the Commission adopted three draft articles and commentary identifying three senior governmental officials as entitled to immunity ratione personae from foreign criminal jurisdiction – heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers – for their public or private acts, an immunity that ceases once they leave office.
Work also continued on four other topics already on the Commission’s current program of work (identification of customary international law, provisional application of treaties, the obligation to extradite or prosecute, and the most-favored-nation clause), while new topics on protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts and on protection of the atmosphere were added to the program. At the prior (sixty-fourth) session, the Commission had adopted thirty-two draft articles, together with commentaries, on the topic of expulsion of aliens, and is awaiting the comments and observations of governments on those draft articles to be submitted by 2014. Therefore, that topic was not addressed at the sixty-fifth session.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-125; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-125
Sean D. Murphy, Immunity Ratione Personae of Foreign Government Officials and other Topics: The Sixty-Fifth Session of the International Law Commission, 108 American Journal of International Law (forthcoming 2014).