I Introduction, Introduction to the General Convention
From: The Conventions on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies: A Commentary
Edited By: August Reinisch
- Diplomatic privileges — Since World War II — Immunities — Privilege — UN Charter
This chapter provides an introduction to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, or the General Convention. This is the central multilateral treaty that defines the precise scope of the functionally necessary privileges and immunities accorded to the organization in the UN Charter. The first constituent instruments of international organizations rarely made any provision for the immunity of the organizations themselves. For instance, the Covenant of the League of Nations merely foresaw ‘diplomatic’ privileges and immunities of the League's employees and the inviolability of the League's property. Only after World War II did the UN Charter prominently adopt the notion of functional personality as well as functional privileges and immunities. The UN's functional privileges and immunities paradigm also provided a template for other international organizations to enjoy personality as well as privileges and immunities. The remainder of the chapter discusses the sources of privileges and immunities of international organizations; drafting history of the UN Charter; provisions of the UN Charter; the structure and scope of the UN Convention; and the legal position of UN member states deriving from the General Convention.