GoJIL Vol. 6, No. 2 (2014)
Between Evolution and Stagnation – Immunities in a Globalized World
Immunities have long been a subject of discussion. In the context of globalization, there have, on the one hand, been calls for the limitation or even the abolition of immunities, in particular based on the argument of a lack of responsibility for grave violations of human rights. Contrarily, opposed tendencies can be observed which raise ideas such as the extension of the scope of persons to be protected by immunities, resting upon the pluralization of actors in the globalized world. This article examines these two contradictory aspects of development of immunities in public international law and how they might interrelate with each other. It analyses how the simultaneous evolution and stagnation of immunities can be explained. For that purpose the contribution evaluates at first the current state of the legal development. Further, it takes a look at a certain stagnation of legal development and clarifies the structural parameters within public international law which have led to such a stagnation. In this context, it is critically dealt with the question, whether immunities meet the demands of a globalized world. Lastly, this article addresses the development regarding a denial of immunity in cases of grave human rights violations and asks how it could be more cautiously brought forward.
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