Chapter VI. Selected legal opinions of the secretariats of the United Nations and related intergovernmental organizations

SUMMARY

A. Legal opinions of the Secretariat of the United Nations 1. Privileges and immunities (a) Electronic mail addressed to the Department of Management, United Nations, regarding diplomatic immunity with regard to a “When Actually Employed” contract at the level of Assistant Secretary- General (b) Interoffice memorandum to the Assistant Secretary-General, Central Support Services, United Nations, regarding immunity from search for holders of red United Nations Laissez-Passer (c) Note verbale to the Permanent Representative of a Member State regarding the imposition of a road toll tax on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (d) Draft note verbale for the United Nations Development Programme to be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of a Member State in respect of a national law requiring mandatory contribution to the national health scheme (e) Facsimile to the Representative of the Secretary-General of a United Nations Office, regarding the issuance of diplomatic cards to United Nations officials by the Host Country (f) Interoffice memorandum to the Director of the Investment Management Service of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund regarding the Fund’s tax exempt status in certain States (g) Letter to the Ambassador ... (see full summary)

 
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sELECTED LEgAL OPiNiONs OF ThE sECRETARiATs OF ThE UNiTED NATiONs AND RELATED iNTERgOvERNmENTAL ORgANizATiONs

  1. Legal opinions of the secretariat of the United Nations

(Issued .or .prepared .by .the .Office .of .Legal .Affairs)

1. Privileges and immunities

(

  1. Electronic mail addressed to the Department of Management, United Nations, regarding diplomatic immunity with regard to a “When Actually

    Employed” contract at the level of Assistant Secretary-General

    Diplomatic .privileges .and .immunities .for .United .Nations .officials—Convention . on .the .Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations, .19 6**—“When .Actually . Employed” .contracts—Status .of .employment—Days .of .actual .employment—Secretary-General’s .Bulletin .ST/SGB/28 ***

    1 . This .is .in .response .to .your .email .of .22 .February .2005 .requesting .advice .as .to . whether .a .person .who .is .the .holder .of .a .“When .Actually .Employed” .contract .(WAE .contract) .at .the .level .of .an .Assistant .Secretary-General .would .enjoy .diplomatic .privileges .and . immunities .over .the .entire .duration .of .the .WAE .contract, .or .whether .such .privileges .and . immunities .would .only .apply .in .respect .of .days .of .actual .employment

    2 . In .our .view, .such .diplomatic .privileges .and .immunities .only apply in respect of days of actual employment .The .Secretary-General’s .Bulletin .regarding .“Use .of .‘When . Actually .Employed’ .Contracts .for .Special .Representatives, .Envoys .and .Other .Special .High . Level .Positions” .of .29 .August .1996 .(ST/SGB/283) .divides .WAE .contracts .into .two .categories: .(i) .short .term .appointments .under .the .300 .series .of .the .Staff .Rules; .and .(ii) .on .special . service .agreements .With .respect .to .both .kinds .of .WAE .contracts, .it .is .clear .that .a .person . employed .under .a .WAE .contract .has .the .status .of .a .staff .member .(300 .series) .or .expert .on .

    . .* . This .chapter .contains .legal .opinions .and .other .similar .memoranda .and .documents .

    .** United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1, p. 15, and vol. 90, p. 327 (corrigendum to vol. 1).

    *** . Secretary-General’s .bulletins .are .approved .and .signed .by .the .Secretary-General .Bulletins .are . issued .with .respect .to .the .following .matters: .promulgation .of .rules .for .the .implementation .of .regulations, .resolutions .and .decisions .adopted .by .the .General .Assembly; .promulgation .of .regulations .and . rules, .as .required, .for .the .implementation .of .resolutions .and .decisions .adopted .by .the .Security .Council; . organization .of .the .Secretariat; .the .establishment .of .specially .funded .programmes; .or .any .other .important .decision .of .policy .as .decided .by .the .Secretary-General .(see .ST/SGB/1997/1) .

    5

    6 . UNITED .NATIONS .JURIDICAL .YEARBOOK .2005

    mission .(special .service .agreements) .“only when actually employed by the United Nations” . (See .paragraphs .12 .and .14 .of .the .Bulletin )

    3 . This .means .that .status .of .the .WAE .contract .holder .as .a .staff .member, .or .an .expert . on .mission, .only .applies .as .at .such .time .that .he .or .she .is .employed .by .the .United .Nations . In .this .respect, .it .should .be .noted .that .paragraph .4 .of .the .Bulletin .states .that .“the .holder . of .a .WAE .contract .must .be .notified .in .writing .of .the .days .during .which .his .or .her .services . will .be .required, .and .his .or .her .acceptance .must .be .in .writing .In .cases .of .extreme .urgency, . this .may .be .done .on .a .post facto .basis” .Accordingly, .the .privileges .and .immunities .would . only .apply .to .words .spoken .or .written .or .acts .performed .in .an .official .capacity .during .the . actual .period .or .periods .of .employment .It .is .clear, .of .course, .that .privileges .and .immunities .in .respect .of .activities .conducted .on .such .days .would .continue .to .apply .until .waived .by . the .Secretary-General .in .accordance .with .the .Convention .on .the .Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations

    24 .February .2005

    (b) Interoffice memorandum to the Assistant Secretary-General, Central Support Services, United Nations, regarding immunity from search for holders of red United Nations Laissez-Passer

    Privileges .and .immunities .granted .to .United .Nations .officials—Article .V, .section .19, .and .article .VII, .section .27, .of .the .Convention .on .the .Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations, .19 6*—Articles .29 .and . 6 .of .the .Vienna .Convention . on .Diplomatic .Relations, .1961**—Diplomatic .privileges .and .immunities .granted . only .to .United .Nations .officials .at .the .level .of .Assistant .Secretary-General . and .above—Possibility .to .issue .red .United .Nations .Laissez-Passer .to .officials .at . lower .level .without .granting .full .scope .of .diplomatic .privileges .and .immunities—Personal .inviolability—Exceptions .to .personal .inviolability .with .respect . to .security .procedures by airlines

    1 . This .is .with .reference .to .your .request .addressed .to .[name] .by .email .on .17 .February .2005 .for .a .legal .opinion .concerning .the .relevant .privileges .and .immunities .enjoyed .by . the .holders .of .red .United .Nations .Laissez-Passer .(UNLPs) .of .[ . . . .] .The .email .states .that .a .

    red .UNLP .holder .of .[ . . . .] .was .twice .forced .to .allow .his .bags .to .be .searched .at .[city] .airport, .

    and .that .a .security .officer .had .advised .that .she .was .under .instructions .to .treat .national . diplomatic .passports .differently .from .United .Nations .“diplomatic .passports”, .which .she . said .did .not .entitle .their .holders .to .immunity .from .search

    2 . Pursuant . to . the . Guide . to . the . Issuance . of . United . Nations . Travel . Documents . (PAH/INF 78/2) .of .1 .June .1978, .red .UNLPs .may .be .issued .to .officials .of .the .United .Nations . at .the .level .of .Assistant .Secretary-General .and .above, .who .by .virtue .of .article .V, .section .19, . of .the .Convention .on .the .Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations .(the .Convention), .are .entitled .to .the .“privileges .and .immunities, .exemptions .and .facilities .accorded .to . diplomatic .envoys, .in .accordance .with .international .law” .In .accordance .with .that .Guide, . red .UNLPs .may .also .be .issued .to .officials .of .the .United .Nations .at .the .D-2 .level .who .under .

    .* United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1, p. 15, and vol. 90, p. 327 (corrigendum to vol. 1).

    ** United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 500, p. 95.

    . chapter .VI . 7

    article .VII, .section .27, .of .the .Convention, .are .only .entitled .to .the .same .facilities .as .are . accorded .to .diplomatic .envoys .when .travelling .on .the .business .of .the .United .Nations .The . Guide .also .provides .that .red .UNLPs .may, .in .exceptional .cases, .be .issued .to .staff .members .below .the .rank .of .D-2 .who .are .designated .by .the .Secretary-General .as .within .one .of . the .categories .listed .in .paragraph .10 .thereof .With .respect .to .such .staff, .the .Convention . provides .neither .the .diplomatic .privileges .and .immunities .nor .the .facilities .accorded .to . diplomatic .envoys

    3 . Based .on .the .foregoing, .and .unless .there .is .an .agreement .with .the .Government . of .the .host .country .which .provides .otherwise, .only .officials .who .are .at .the .level .of .Assistant .Secretary-General .and .above .are .entitled .to .the .full .scope .of .diplomatic .privileges . and .immunities .As .such, .only .Assistant .Secretary-Generals .and .above .are .entitled .to . “personal .inviolability” .under .article .29 .of .the .Vienna .Convention .on .Diplomatic .Relations .(the .Vienna .Convention) .As .diplomatic .agents, .they .cannot .be .required .to .submit .to . compulsory .search .procedures .by .police .or .other .law .enforcement .authorities .In .respect . of .travel .by .air, .however, .such .inviolability .does .not .preclude .being .expected .to .submit .to .a . search .either .manually .or .by .x-ray .device .as .it .has .been .established .that .airlines .may .refuse . to .carry .persons .who .have .not .submitted .to .search .procedures .In .addition, .pursuant .to . article .36 .of .the .Vienna .Convention, .the .personal .baggage .of .a .diplomatic .agent .is .exempt . from .search .unless .there .are .serious .grounds .for .presuming .that .it .contains .articles .other . than .for .official .or .personal .use, .which .may .be .either .prohibited .or .controlled .by .the .laws . of .the .receiving .State .Such .inspection, .however, .can .only .be .conducted .in .the .presence .of . the .diplomatic .agent .or .of .his .authorized .representative

    1 .March .2005

    (c) Note verbale to the Permanent Representative of a Member State regarding the imposition of a road toll tax on the United Nations

    High Commissioner for Refugees

    Privileges .and .immunities .granted .to .the .United .Nations—Article .105 .of .the . Charter .of .the .United .Nations—Article .II, .section .7 .(a), .of .the .Convention .on .the . Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations, .19 6*—Road .toll .tax—Exemption .of .any .form .of .direct .taxation—No .exemption .of .charges .for .public .utility . services—Charges .for .services .must .be .specifically .identified, .described, .itemized . and .calculated .according .to .some .predetermined .unit

    The .Legal .Counsel .of .the .United .Nations .presents .his .compliments .to .the .Permanent . Representative .of .[Member .State] .to .the .United .Nations .and .has .the .honour .to .refer .to .the . decision .by .the .Government .of .[Member .State] .to .impose .a .road .toll .tax .on .[staff .members . of .the .Office .of] .the .United .Nations .High .Commissioner .for .Refugees .(UNHCR) .with . respect .to .the .purchase .of .fuel .in .[Member...

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