The Evolution of the Concept of Immunity of International Organizations

Tiina Pajuste


This article looks at the change in the conceptual foundations of the immunity of international organisations, paying special attention to the nature of the immunity of the first international organisations and the later disappearance of that unique approach. Three distinct stages in the development of the concept of immunity of international organizations can be discerned. In the first stage the early international organizations were bestowed immunity derived from an augmented concept of neutrality. The second stage witnessed the granting of diplomatic privileges and immunities to certain organizations and their officials. The third stage involved the adoption of the concept of ‘functional immunity’ of international organizations. The article will also engage with the discussions (or lack of them) surrounding the adoption of immunity provisions and study the progression of analytical engagement with the concept of immunity. An examination of these stages will reveal how changes in the conceptual bases of immunity initially came about mostly due to practical considerations and without an analysis of the conceptual transformation that resulted.

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Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society

Narva mnt. 2910120 Tallinn

ISSN 1736‐9541 ISBN 978‐9949‐29‐232‐5