Journal of
Public Administration and Policy Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Adm. Policy Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2480
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPAPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 148


Immunities and privileges of International Organizations and the international civil service

Ruwantissa Abeyratne
  • Ruwantissa Abeyratne
  • International Civil Aviation Organization, 999 University Street, Montreal H3C 5H7, Quebec-Canada.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 29 September 2009
  •  Accepted: 25 February 2010
  •  Published: 30 September 2014


A fundamental principle of public international law and the law of the international civil service bestows a certain degree of immunity and some privileges to members of the international civil service (those serving in the United Nations system). Therefore it follows that negligence of a member of the international civil service cannot be judged at the same level as that of a member of the public, particularly in relation to professional duties discharged. This is because the international civil service is granted immunity from liability for acts committed and opinions given in the course of their employment, provided such acts related to the performance of official duties. The special position occupied both by an international Organization of nations and its employees in the national courts is due to an explicit recognition of “rootlessness” and international character of both the Organization and its international civil service which, if brought into subjugation by national jurisdictions and legislation, would be rendered destitute of independence in their work for the international community. This article discusses the nature of international organizations and their staff, the types and degree of immunity they enjoy, the difficulties posed by the grant of such immunities and instances of waiver of such immunity.

Key words: International civil service, international organizations, diplomatic immunity, waiver of diplomatic immunity, absolute immunity, qualified immunity, negligence.