Vol. 2, Issue 5 (2016)
The concept of state immunity under international law: An overview
Author(s): Paschal Oguno
Abstract: State immunity is the principle of international law that exempts a state from prosecution or suit for the violation of domestic laws of another state. Immunity does not confer solely in an individual per se, rather it attaches to an office, and the individual occupant of that office at any point in time enjoys the immunity attaching to that office. A state is immuned from all judicial processes of its courts and the courts of other states. This means that under the sovereign state immunity concept a foreign sovereign cannot be impleaded in the court of another state without its concepts. This rule is hinged on the international law maxim- par inparem non habet imperium meaning that equal have no power over an equal. It originated when the kings were considered to be the embodiment of state sovereignty. The principle of absolute immunity has now been abandoned in many jurisdictions to embrace the principle of restrictive immunity approach which does not attach immunity to the commercial acts of a sovereign. The courts of a country can only assume jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign or diplomat when that sovereign has waived the immunity. The waiver must be express, where a sovereign waives his immunity from jurisdiction of local courts, it does not affect the execution of judgement since it to settled in law that the waiver or immunity from jurisdiction does not amount to waiver of immunity from execution or attachment. If a sovereign immunity is violated may protest to other states and failure to remedy the violation may lead to an action in international court of justice. The aim of this work is to discuss in extensor the origin and extent of state immunity under the international law, the forms of state immunity, its waiver and exemptions in order to give a general overview to it and make recommendations.