Advanced International Law (LAW-LW.11860.001)

Updated April 2009

© Benedict Kingsbury/IILJ, a Creative Commons license for use is granted as detailed here.

Unit 6:  Immunity and Act of State in National Courts

I. Overview and Introduction

A. Overview and Background: Hazel Fox, Chapter 12 (in Evans, ed.)

B.  The Development of Sovereign Immunity Law in the United States

1. A Historical Introduction

a. The Classical View
b. The Tate Letter
c. The Tate Letter in Practice

II. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976

A. See FSIA [important to read*]

1. An Overview of the Act

a. Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts

b. Immunity and Exclusion from Jurisdiction

c. Commencement of Action

d. Enforcement of Judgments

e. Actions in State Courts

2. Notes and Questions

3. Princz v. Germany

4. Altmann v. Austria. Aftermath: an arbitration between Austria and Altmann determined the paintings
belonged to her, and she sold them.

B. Commercial Activity Here and Abroad

1. Notes on Republic of Argentina v. Weltover

2. Nelson v. Saudi Arabia

C. The Terrorism Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

1. Libyan Payment to Families of Pan Am flight 103

2. Security Council Lifts Sanctions imposed on Libya

3. US Courts orders Libya to Pay  

****Additional Materials****

4. Jonathan B. Schwartz, Dealing with a “Rough State”: The Libya Precedent, 101 AJIL, 552 (2007). 

III. Suing Current or Former Foreign State Officials in US Courts

A. Foreign Officials and Sovereign Immunity in US Courts, by Curtis Bradley(March 2009)

IV. Enforcement Problems in Suing Foreign Governments and Instrumentalities

A. Birch Shipping Corp. v. Embassy of United Republic of Tanzania and Letelier v. Republic of Chile

B. Germany v. Italy (ICJ, 2008-, ongoing)

V. The Act of State Doctrine

A. The Locus Classicus:

1. Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino

2. Aftermath of Sabbatino

B. The Contemporary Approach of the Supreme Court:

1. Kirkpatrick v. Environmental Tectonics

C. Article on Kuwait Airways v. Iraq Airways

VI. Immunity of International Organizations

A. Chanaka Wickremasinghe, On Immunities of Diplomats, Government Officials, and Official of International Organizations (Ch. 13, in Evans, ed.).

B. Waite and Kennedy v. Germany, European Court of Human Rights, 26083/94.

C. Brzak v. United Nations, Judgment of US District Court, April 29, 2008 (an appeal has been filed);

    Brzak Brzak v. United Nations, Memorandum of Law of the United Nations, October 2, 2007

D. Letter from the United States District Attorney to the Court, October 2, 2007.