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Head of state immunity in international law

Nwosu, Udoka (2011) Head of state immunity in international law. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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International events since the landmark Pinochet case, increased human rights advocacy, efforts at a culture of accountability, as well as the recent pro-democratic up-rising in the Arab states sustain impetus for the consideration of Head of state immunity in international law. A naturalist view of international law is that there can be no Head of state immunity for violations of human rights. This popular view proceeds from a theoretical misunderstanding of the positivist concept of immunities resulting in its practical misapplication. However, this naturalist view must be contextualised within the subtleties of international rule-making. It is to this end that the inquiry into Head of state immunity as a concept of customary international law, emergent trends and the formation of a new rule of custom in this regard is necessitated. Thus, this thesis will inquire into the applicability, or otherwise, of Head of state immunity before certain fora, including national courts, international courts, and internationalised courts with view to discerning emergent trends in the practice of Head of state immunity. Thematic in this thesis, is the argument that a provision in the constitutive instrument establishing the jurisdiction of a court which makes irrelevant the fact of official capacity as Head of state, without more, cannot remove the immunities of Heads of states under customary international law. This thesis will undertake its analysis from the perspective of the nature of the constitutive instrument establishing an international court and the extent to which states are bound by the instrument. This thesis will conclude this inquiry by considering the extent to which the trends elicited in the substantive part of the work have changed customary international law and the extent to which there can be said to be a new international law on Head of state immunity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Udoka Ndidiamaka Nwosu
Library of Congress subject classification: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Sets: Departments > Law

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