Curriculum Guide · Courses
Immunity Under International Law
Professor James Gresser
LL.M Course 939 (cross-listed) | 1 credit hours
The attempted extradition of Gen. Pinochet from the U.K. to Spain to account for torture and disappearances in Chile, a tragic car accident in Washington, D.C. in which a sixteen year old is killed by a Georgian diplomat, the alleged expropriation of your corporate client’s investment interests by a foreign government, a civil lawsuit against President Mugabe of Zimbabwe during a visit to the U.S., a criminal case in Chicago against a foreign consular officer for aiding and abetting a fugitive -- such cases bring into sharp relief the operation of international immunities. This mini-course aims to introduce students to the range of jurisdictional immunities recognized by international law and how they are implemented in domestic law. We will cover diplomatic and consular immunity, sovereign (or state) immunity, the immunities accorded to heads of state and government, and the special status of international organizations and their staff and member representatives, including the United Nations, its specialized agencies and individuals on special missions. Increasingly, practicing lawyers (especially those who represent governments and international organizations or who practice in places where embassies, consulates, missions and international institutions are located) need to be familiar with the reach of these rules and doctrines, and the exceptions thereto. Our focus will be on the practical application of the various international conventions, domestic statutes, and judicially crafted rules which define the law of international immunities.
Note: No prerequisites, but some familiarity with basic international law and the process of civil litigation would be desirable.