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Public International Law - immunities

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    I have understood the fact that the Head of State / Head of Government / Foreign Minister etc enjoys ratione personae whilst in office, as meaning that there could never be any claim against them (whilst they remain in office).

    However, the textbook says that they ‘will enjoy complete personal inviolability and absolute immunity from criminal jurisdiction ratione personae. Immunity from civil jurisdiction is more complex in that it involves determining whether the act in question was performed by the Head of State in his official capacity as an organ of the state, or whether it was performed by the Head of State in his personal capacity.’

    I thought that immunity ratione personae meant that there was never any need to look into the nature of the act? Does this mean that with regards to civil jurisdiction, they only enjoy ratione materiae?



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    Regarding another point, we have been taught that international law does not draw a distinction between different type of obligations (ie crimes/ torts) as legal system do. However, how does this relate to the difference between criminal and civil jurisdiction which is so insisted on (eg in Jones v. Saudi Arabia).

    I just find public international generally confusing (and boring). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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