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) Letter to the Acting Chair of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations, regarding immunities of civilian police and military personnel (b) Note verbale to a Permanent Representative of a Member State to the United Nations regarding the freezing of bank accounts of the World Food Programme (c) Interoffice memorandum to the Director of Investment Management Service, United Nations, regarding tax exemption (d) Letter to a Permanent Representative of a Member State to the United Nations regarding the legal framework for the holding of a United Nations meeting away from Headquarters (e) Facsimile to the Legal Adviser of the International Labour Organization, Geneva, regarding the refusal of a Member State to recognize the full immunities of international organizations (f) Letter to the Registrar of the International Court of Justice regarding privileges and immunities with respect to parking fees (g) Letter to a Permanent Representative of a... (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

      (a) Letter to the Acting Chair of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations, regarding immunities of civilian police and military personnel

      Privileges .and .immunities .of .civilian .police .and .military .personnel—Article .VI . of .the .Convention .on .the .Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations, .1946 — Model . status-of-forces . agreement . (A/4 / 94)—Status-of-mission . agreements— Civilian .police .enjoy .the .status .of .experts .performing .missions—Civilian .police . enjoy .functional .immunity—Privileges .and .immunities .are .granted .in .the .interest . of .the .Organization .and .not .for .the .personal .benefit .of .the .individual—Legal . obligation .of .the .United .Nations .to .cooperate .with .local .authorities .to .facilitate . the .administration .of .justice—Waiver .of .immunity .when .possible .without .prejudice . to . the . interest . of . the . Organization—Military . personnel . are . subject . to . the . exclusive .criminal .jurisdiction .of .the .respective .participating .State—Customary . principles . and . practices . applicable . to . peacekeeping—Military . personnel . may . be . subject . to . local . civil . jurisidction . for . acts . giving . rise . to . civil . liablity . and . committed .otherwise .than .in .the .performance .of .their .offical .functions

      This .is .in .response .to .your .letter .of .12 .April .2004 .conveying .a .request .from .the .Special . Committee .on .Peacekeeping .Operations, .“for .written .information .by .the .Office .of .Legal . Affairs .regarding .immunities .of .civilian .police .and .military .personnel ” .You .also .attached . a .list .of .questions .which .you .have .requested .that .I .use .as .guidance .when .responding

      As .far .as .civilian .police .are .concerned, .you .have .requested .that .I .use .the .following . as .guidance:

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

      324 . UNITED .NATIONS .JURIDICAL .YEARBOOK .2004

      – .“The .nature .of .immunities .enjoyed .by .civilian .police .personnel .serving .under . [the] .United .Nations .flag

      – .Whether .these .immunities .differ .between .different .peace .operations .and .why

      – .The .legal .bases .for .the .above .immunities

      – .The .competent .jurisdiction .in .cases .of .civil/criminal .liability .[and] .basis .for .competence/jurisdiction ”

      United .Nations .civilian .police .officers .enjoy .the .status .of .“experts .performing .missions” .for .the .United .Nations .within .the .meaning .of .article .VI .of .the .Convention .on .the . Privileges .and .Immunities .of .the .United .Nations, .1946, .a .copy .of .which .I .attach .This . status .is .also .provided .for .in, .inter alia, .status-of-forces .agreements .(SOFAs) .or .status-of-mission .agreements .(SOMAs) .that .are .concluded .between .the .United .Nations .and .Governments .hosting .peacekeeping .operations, .as .well .as .the .model .status-of-forces .agreement . (A/4 / 94) .SOFAs .and .SOMAs .reviewed .by .this .Office .follow .the .model .status-of-forces . agreement .and .the .Convention .by .consistently .affording .to .United .Nations .civilian .police . the .status .of .experts .on .mission .If .no .status-of-forces .agreement .has .been .concluded .and . the .model .status-of-forces .agreement .has .not .been .made .applicable .by .the .Security .Council .resolution .authorizing .the .operation, .then .the .status .of .civilian .police .officers .remains . governed .by .the .Convention

      The .chapeau .of .article .VI, .section .22, .of .the .Convention .provides .as .follows:

      “Experts .(other .than .officials .coming .within .the .scope .of .[a]rticle .V) .performing . missions .for .the .United .Nations .shall .be .accorded .such .privileges .and .immunities .as .are . necessary .for .the .independent .exercise .of .their .functions .during .the .period .of .their .missions, .including .the .time .spent .on .journeys .in .connection .with .their .missions ”

      As .experts .performing .missions .for .the .United .Nations, .civilian .police .officers .enjoy . “functional .immunity”, .that .is, .immunity .for .purposes .of .the .official .acts .done .by .them .in . the .course .of .the .performance .of .their .official .functions .Their .privileges .and .immunities, . which .include .immunity .from .personal .arrest .and .detention, .are .granted .solely .to .enable . them .to .perform .their .official .functions .These .privileges .and .immunities .are .granted .in . the .interests .of .the .Organization .and .are .not .for .the .personal .benefit .of .the .individuals . themselves .United .Nations .civilian .police .officers .may .therefore .be .made .subject .to .local . civil .and .criminal .jurisdiction .for .acts .committed .by .them .in .the .host .country .that .are . done .by .them .otherwise .than .in .the .performance .of .their .official .functions

      In .this .regard, .the .United .Nations .has .a .legal .obligation .to .cooperate .with .the .appropriate .local .authorities .to .facilitate .the .proper .administration .of .justice .Under .article .VI . of .the .Convention, .the .Secretary-General .has .the .right .and .duty .to .waive .the .immunity .of . any .expert .on .mission, .including .civilian .police .officers, .in .any .case .where, .in .his .opinion, . this .immunity .would .impede .the .course .of .justice, .and .it .can .be .waived .without .prejudice . to .the .interests .of .the .United .Nations .It .is .therefore .possible .and .consistent .with .the .Convention .and .the .model .status-of-forces .agreement, .that .a .United .Nations .civilian .police . officer .be .prosecuted .in .the .host .State .for .a .criminal .act, .even .if .committed .in .the .course . of .performing .his .or .her .functions, .where .immunity .for .that .act .would .impede .the .course . of .justice .and .that .immunity .can .properly .be .waived

      . The .Convention .is .not .reproduced .herein .

      . chapter .VI . 325

      As .far .as .the .military .members .of .military .components .serving .in .a .peacekeeping . operation .are .concerned, .you .have .requested .that .I .use .the .following .as .guidance:

      – .“The .nature .of .immunities .enjoyed .by .military .personnel .serving .under .[the] . United .Nations .flag

      – .Whether .these .immunities .differ .between .different .peace .operations .and .why

      – .The .legal .bases .for .the .above .immunities

      – .The .competent .jurisdiction .in .cases .of .civil/criminal .liability .[and] .basis .for .competence/jurisdiction ”

      Military .personnel .of .military .components .who .serve .in .United .Nations .peacekeeping .operations .under .the .authority .of .the .Secretary-General .are, .in .accordance .with .the . customary .principles .and .practices .applicable .to .peacekeeping, .subject .to .the .exclusive . criminal .jurisdiction .of .their .respective .national .authorities, .and .so .enjoy .absolute .and . complete .immunity .from .local .criminal .process .in .States .hosting .peacekeeping .operations .This .status .is .consistently .provided .for .in, .inter alia, .Status-of-forces .agreements . that .are .concluded .between .the .United .Nations .and .Governments .hosting .peacekeeping . operations, .as .well .as .in .the .model .status-of-forces .agreement, .a .copy .of .which .I .attach . and .which .provides .as .follows .in .article .47 .(b):

      “Military .members .of .the .military .component .of .the .United .Nations .peacekeeping . operation .shall .be .subject .to .the .exclusive .jurisdiction .of .their .respective .participating . States .in .respect .of .any .criminal .offences .which .may .be .committed .by .them .in .[host . country/territory] ”

      This .immunity .from .criminal .jurisdiction .in .a .host .State .can .be .justified, .inter alia, .by . the .fact .that .military .personnel, .as .a .rule, .are .subject .to .their .own .distinct .military .judicial . system, .including .for .acts .committed .by .them .outside .their .own .country .It .may .further . be .noted .in .this .connection .that .paragraph .48 .of .the .model .Status-of-forces .agreement . provides .that, .“[t]he .Secretary-General .of .the .United .Nations .will .obtain .assurances .from . Governments .of .participating .States .that .they .will .be .prepared .to .exercise .jurisdiction . with .respect .to .crimes .or .offences .which .may .be .committed .by .members .of .their .national . contingents .serving .with .the .peacekeeping .operation ”

      However, . consistent . with . the . model . status-of-forces . agreement . and . specific . Status-of-forces .agreements .reviewed .by .this .Office .and .concluded .with .countries .that .host . peacekeeping .operations, .military .members .of .the .military .component .of .a .United .Nations . peacekeeping .operation .may .be .subjected .to .local .civil .jurisdiction .for .acts .that .give .rise . to .civil .liability .and .that .are .committed .by .them .in .the .host .country .otherwise .than .in .the . performance .of .their .official .functions

      I .trust .that .the .above .is .of .assistance

      14 .April .2004

      . The .model .Status-of-forces .agreement, .document .A/4 / 94, .is .not .reproduced .herein .

      32 . UNITED .NATIONS .JURIDICAL .YEARBOOK .2004

      (b) Note verbale to a Permanent Representative of a Member State to the United Nations regarding the freezing of bank accounts

      of the World Food Programme

      Freezing .of .the .World .Food .Programme’s .bank .accounts .as .a .result .of .a .labour . dispute—World .Food .Programme .is .a .joint .subsidiary .organ .of .the .United .Nations . and .the .Food .and .Agriculture .Organization—Convention .on .the .Privileges...

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