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The research in this project focuses on the actors and processes that play a role in the formation and identification of international immunity rules (state immunity; immunity of state officials; IO immunity).

Processes that underlie the application of immunity rules and that at the same contribute to their development are for example law formation, interpretation, and the solving of norm-conflicts. The project sets out to map and analyze these processes both empirically (how do the different actors approach these processes?) and theoretically (what are coherent approaches to these processes?).

National courts have played a central role in the development of immunity rules. In recent years, however, questions as to the scope and content of some of these rules have reached international courts and tribunals, as well as international fora such as the Institut de Droit International Law and the International Law Commission and with that latter, the UNGA Sixth Committee. These ‘new actors’ on the scene have changed the dynamics of the development of immunity rules. The reaction of the Italian Constitutional Court on the ICJ Jurisdictional Immunities case shows for example how international immunity rules may also, eventually, develop through national law. The project sets outs to map and analyze the contribution of the various actors involved in the formation and identification of immunity rules. In particular, it will try to make sense of the shift in dynamics (what are the consequences of this shift on the processes that underlie the development of these rules?). 

Output (2018) 

  • R. van Alebeek, ‘The “International Crime” Exception in the ILC Draft Articles on the Immunity of State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction: Two Steps Back?’, AJIL Unbound 2018, pp. 27-32
  • R. van Alebeek & R. Pavoni, ‘Immunity of States and their Officials’ in A. Nollkaemper, A. Reinish, R. Janik & F. Simlinger (ed) International Law in Domestic Courts, A Casebook (forthcoming OUP 2018)
  • ‘Functional immunity of State officials from the criminal jurisdiction of foreign national courts’, in T. Ruys, N. Angelet & L. Ferro (eds), Handbook Immunities and International Law (forthcoming CUP 2018) 
  • R. van Alebeek & P.A. Nollkaemper, ‘The Netherlands: Fundamental Constitutional Principles Lost?’, in F.M. Palombino (ed), Duelling for Supremacy: International Law vs. National Fundamental Principles (forthcoming CUP 2018)


Dr. R. (Rosanne) van Alebeek

Assistant Professor