The Transnational Human Rights Review

Document Type


English Abstract

The trials of German and Japanese state officials following the end of World War II at the International Military Tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo along with treaty obligations undertaken by states since at least the establishment of the United Nations, have together given rise to the question of whether states and their officials are entitled to immunity for violations of human rights. This question was highlighted by the case against Pinochet Ugarte of Chile, which came more recently before the United Kingdom House of Lords. The case propelled the immunity of state officials into the limelight of judicial and academic discourse and resulted in increased human rights advocacy for accountability against senior state officials. Since the 1990s, the practice of the United Nations Security Council of establishing ad hoc international criminal tribunals under their peace and security mandate, and the referral to the International Criminal Court and/or its preliminary investigation of later cases arising from conflicts in places like Darfur, Libya, and North Eastern Nigeria, sustain the impetus for this article.