The Permanent Court of International Justice, 1920-1942

By Manley O. Hudson; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16 DIPLOMATIC PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES

370. Provisions in the Statute.Article 19 of the Statute provides that "the members of the Court, when engaged on the business of the Court, shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities." This text is somewhat broader than that in Articles 24 ( 1899) and 46 ( 1907) of the Hague Conventions on Pacific Settlement, where the privileges are restricted to the beneficiary's absence from his own country. The subcommittee of the Third Committee of the First Assembly intended that "the question of the situation of the judges in their own country should not be prejudiced " by the final draft of Article 19;1 yet it seems essential to the independence of the Court, especially in times of emergency, that its members should enjoy some privileges and immunities even within the territory of the States of which they are nationals. Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Covenant, which provides that "representatives of the Members of the League and officials of the League when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities," clearly applies while the beneficiary is in his own country.2 Members of the Court are not "representatives of Members of the League," but they might possibly be classified as "officials of the League" for the purpose of applying this provision in the Covenant; at any rate the question might arise with reference to a State which is a Member of the League of Nations, but is not a party to the Protocol and Statute of the Court.

Article 19 does not in terms apply to the Registrar of the Court, but the Netherlands Government has agreed to assimilate the Registrar to members of the Court for the purpose of his diplomatic status.3 The privileges of officials of the Registry derive, not from Article 19 of the Statute, but from Article 7 of the Covenant. Perhaps, also, the

____________________
1
Records of First Assembly, Committees, I, p. 358.
2
In 1924 the Institut de Droit International expressed the view that in the application of this text a Member of the League of Nations was not authorized to make any distinction between its own nationals and those of other States. 31 Annuaire de l'Institut ( 1924), p. 179.
3
Series E, No. 4, p. 58.

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