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7 Immunity, 7.4 Beer and Regan v Germany, App. No. 28934/95 and Waite and Kennedy v Germany, App. No. 26083/94, European Court of Human Rights, 18 February 1999

Thore Neumann, Anne Peters

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: 27 March 2023

Immunity from jurisdiction — Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Responsibility of international organizations — Judgments

The two decisions were the first in which an international human rights court commented on the conflict between immunities of international organizations before domestic courts and the human rights-based obligation of states to provide individuals with access to a court. The European Court of Human Rights reviewed the domestic court’s act of granting immunity to an international organization against art. 6(1) ECHR. It employed an ‘alternative means test’, i.e. it inquired whether the aggrieved party had means other than access to state courts at its disposal to pursue claims. In performing a human rights-review, the Court departed from the traditional paradigm of international organizations’ absolute immunity which would dispense international organizations under all possible circumstances from domestic judicial proceedings and enforcement. Since the rendering of the two judgments, the ‘alternative means’ test has become a key concept in the law of organizational immunities in Europe.

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