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5 Obligations of International Organizations, 5.2 Interpretation of the Agreement of 25 March 1951 between the WHO and Egypt, Advisory Opinion, [1980] ICJ Rep 73

Catherine Brölmann

From: Judicial Decisions on the Law of International Organizations

Edited By: Cedric Ryngaert, Ige F Dekker, Ramses A Wessel, Jan Wouters

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 02 December 2023

Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Responsibility of international organizations

The 1980 WHO Advisory Opinion elaborates on the general legal obligations (grounded in the duty of co-operation and good faith) that are part of the relationship between an international organization and its host state. In this opinion the ICJ possibly for the first time articulated this relationship as a set of mutual obligations between legal equals. The opinion moreover enunciates the sources of international legal obligations binding upon international organizations (IOs): the treaties they conclude (uncontroversial); I customary international law; their constitutions. The Court uses the proverbial reassurance of UN member states in saying that the WHO is not a ‘super-state’. Finally, in accepting jurisdiction the Court explicitly separated the legal character of the question from the political considerations motivated by that question.

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