Title United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property
Publisher UN General Assembly
Publication Date 2 December 2004
Topics Treaties / Agreements / Charters / Protocols / Conventions / Declarations
Citation / Document Symbol A/RES/59/38
Reference Not yet entered into force
Cite as UN General Assembly, United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, 2 December 2004, A/RES/59/38, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4280737b4.html [accessed 25 July 2014]
Comments The U.N. General Assembly adopted the U.N. Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property on December 2, 2004. The General Assembly stressed the importance of uniformity and clarity in the law of jurisdictional immunities of States and expressed its deep appreciation to the International Law Commission and the Ad Hoc Committee on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property. The Convention was opened for signature on January 17, 2005 and will remain open for signature until January 17, 2007. So far, Austria, Morocco, Belgium and Portugal have signed the Convention. The U.N. Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property provides for a presumption of immunity, as supported by principles of customary international law. Article 2 sets forth the definition of "State" as "(1) the State and its various organs of government; (ii) constituent units of a federal State or political subdivisions of the State, which are entitled to perform acts in the exercise of sovereign authority, and are acting in that capacity; (iii) agencies or instrumentalities of the State or other entities, to the extent that they are entitled to perform and are actually performing acts in the exercise of sovereign authority of the State." Article 4 of the Convention entitled "Non-retroactivity of the present Convention" provides that "the present Convention shall not apply to any question of jurisdictional immunities of States or their property arising in a proceeding instituted against a State before a court of another State prior to the entry into force of the present Convention for the States concerned." Article 10 provides that State immunity cannot be invoked for commercial transactions. Article 14 sets forth an exception for intellectual and industrial property, stating that States cannot invoke immunity in proceedings related to the determination of intellectual property rights, even if such rights are provisional in the forum State, or to an alleged infringement by the State in the territory of the forum State. Unlike the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), there is no exception to immunity for expropriation. Nor is there an exception for acts of state-sponsored terrorism, as appears in the FSIA. Article 21 sets forth categories of property that shall not be considered as property intended for use by the State for other than government, non-commercial purposes. These categories include military property, property (including any bank account) intended to be used for diplomatic missions or missions to international organizations, property of the central bank or other monetary authority of the State, property forming part of the cultural heritage or scientific interest of the State.