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Permanent Court of International Justice

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Français

Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations

Overview of the case

As a consequence of the assassination in September 1948, in Jerusalem, of Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Mediator in Palestine, and other members of the United Nations Mission to Palestine, the General Assembly asked the Court whether the United Nations had the capacity to bring an international claim against the State responsible with a view to obtaining reparation for damage caused to the Organization and to the victim. If this question were answered in the affirmative, it was further asked in what manner the action taken by the United Nations could be reconciled with such rights as might be possessed by the State of which the victim was a national. In its Advisory Opinion of 11 April 1949, the Court held that the Organization was intended to exercise functions and rights which could only be explained on the basis of the possession of a large measure of international personality and the capacity to operate upon the international plane. It followed that the Organization had the capacity to bring a claim and to give it the character of an international action for reparation for the damage that had been caused to it. The Court further declared that the Organization can claim reparation not only in respect of damage caused to itself, but also in respect of damage suffered by the victim or persons entitled through him. Although, according to the traditional rule, diplomatic protection had to be exercised by the national State, the Organization should be regarded in international law as possessing the powers which, even if they are not expressly stated in the Charter, are conferred upon the Organization as being essential to the discharge of its functions. The Organization may require to entrust its agents with important missions in disturbed parts of the world. In such cases, it is necessary that the agents should receive suitable support and protection. The Court therefore found that the Organization has the capacity to claim appropriate reparation, including also reparation for damage suffered by the victim or by persons entitled through him. The risk of possible competition between the Organization and the victim’s national State could be eliminated either by means of a general convention or by a particular agreement in any individual case.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Request for Advisory Opinion

Request for Advisory Opinion (including the dossier of documents transmitted to the Court pursuant to article 65, paragraph 2 of the Statute)

7 December 1948
Request for Advisory Opinion (including the dossier of documents transmitted to the Court pursuant to article 65, paragraph 2 of the Statute)
Available in:
English French

Written proceedings

Written Statements

28 December 1948
Available in:
English French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1949

Pleadings, Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, on March 7th, 8th and 9th and April 11th, 1949, the President, M. Basdevant, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Orders

Order of 11 December 1948

Fixing of time-limit: Written Statements
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Advisory opinions

Summaries of Advisory Opinions and Orders

Summary 1949/2

Summary of the Advisory Opinion of 11 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1949/6

1 March 1949
Reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations - The public hearings will begin on 7 March 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/7

2 March 1949
Reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations - List of the governments who have presented written observations
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/10

7 April 1949
Reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations - The Court will give its Advisory Opinion on 11 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/12

11 April 1949
Reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations - Advisory Opinion of the Court of 11 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

4 December 1948
Correspondence
Available in:
English French