Experts Examine State Responses to New U.N. Articles

Scholars Discuss State Comments on the International Law Commission’s 2022 Adopted Articles

Claudio Grossman speaks to the ILC conference

A distinguished group of experts, including members of the International Law Commission (ILC), scholars and various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), recently met at the American University Washington College of Law to discuss the International Law Commission’s 2022 articles.

"These draft articles cover topics on the Immunity of State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction and define subjects relevant to the subject, such as the role of domestic courts, the principles of sovereign equality and immunity, exemptions to immunity, and the like," explained Professor and Dean Emeritus Claudio Grossman.

The conference was organized by Grossman, who was appointed Special Rapporteur on Immunity of State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction in 2023 by the ILC. In this role, he is tasked with preparing a report for discussion by the ILC to be submitted to the UN General Assembly.

The International Law Commission (ILC), part of the United Nations, makes recommendations to the General Assembly that advance the development of international law. The multi-national group analyzed state comments on the draft adopted by the ILC in 2022, exploring new developments, and discussing several of its aspects, such as the scope of immunity for State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction, exceptions to immunity in cases of international crimes, and legal safeguards to ensure the rights of the accused.

Participants joined from countries including Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey, Vietnam, in order to get a truly global and varied input on the articles.

"The conference’s purpose is to seek respect for equal sovereignty of the States and, at the same time, ensure there is no impunity for the most serious international crimes," Grossman explained. "This is an important example of an academic institution addressing key issues of significant theoretical and practical importance."

ILC conference attendees discuss state responses to the 2022 draft articles.

The ILC holds paramount significance in the realm of international law as an authoritative body entrusted with the development and codification of international law.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, the ILC serves as a think tank of legal experts from various jurisdictions worldwide, offering a forum for deliberation and formulation of legal principles governing relations among states. Its role in identifying emerging legal issues, conducting in-depth studies, and drafting conventions and treaties contributes to the progressive development and coherence of international law, fostering stability and predictability in international relations.

The ILC's aims to facilitate the harmonization of diverse legal systems and enhance the rule of law on a global scale, thereby promoting peace, justice, and cooperation among nations.

The ILC's recommendations and draft conventions serve as valuable resources for states, international organizations, and courts in resolving disputes and addressing complex legal challenges. Its comprehensive research and meticulous drafting processes ensure that proposed norms reflect the contemporary needs and aspirations of the international community, thereby fostering widespread acceptance and implementation.

Through its advisory role to the UN General Assembly and other international bodies, the ILC contributes to the development of customary international law and the strengthening of multilateral cooperation. The ILC stands as a cornerstone in the edifice of international legal order, underpinning the peaceful coexistence and cooperation among nations in a complex and interconnected world. American University Washington College of Law is proud to participate and host such an important part of the international legal process.

See more photos from the event here.

Story by Hasini Jayawardena.