Non-state actors in inter-state litigation

beneficiaries or blameworthy

Natalie Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper


This paper examines the different ways that individuals' interests have recently been represented in inter-state dispute settlement proceedings. In the past, the rights of individuals have most commonly been asserted through the state's right of diplomatic protection. The role of individuals in inter-state litigation merits reconsideration in view of the adoption in 2006 of the ILC's articles on Diplomatic Protection, which advocate a human rights perspective being brought to bear on states' decisions as to when to take up the claim of one of its nationals. What influence will this perspective have on states' decisions to initiate litigation or on how a court decides cases brought under the banner of diplomatic protection for the promotion of human rights? Individuals have also been found individually responsible for international crimes, and this approach has now been entrenched through the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The recognition of individual responsibility for certain international crimes now raises issues as to the intersection of individual responsibility with state responsibility. Will the actions of individuals in some way exculpate the state from a finding of responsibility, as was arguably the case in the recent Genocide judgement issued by the ICJ? The experience of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission further brings to light the connections that exist between state and individual responsibility for international crimes, such as rape. The overall question to be considered is to what extent individuals will benefit from these developments in inter-state litigation or potentially become scapegoats and hence blameworthy for international law violations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
JournalSouth African yearbook of international law : good governance and non-state actors in international law : an African perspective
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventInternational Law Association's Regional Conference - Pretoria, South Africa
Duration: 27 Aug 200729 Aug 2007


  • international law
  • individuals
  • diplomatic protection
  • genocide
  • international responsibility

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