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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Responsibility of States for Private Actors

Alexander Kees

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 March 2023

Responsibility of states — Statehood, jurisdiction of states, organs of states — Responsibility of non-state actors — Attribution

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 In principle, States are internationally responsible for their own conduct only, ie for conduct of persons acting in the capacity of organs of a State. As a general rule, the conduct of private persons is not attributable to the State. Nevertheless, under certain conditions even the conduct of private actors can be attributed to the State, thereby constituting an act of the State.2 The term ‘private actors’ is not used uniformly and is sometimes used synonymously with terms such as de facto organs of a State and non-State actors. Basically, ‘private actors’...
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