members of the international community, had the power, in conformity with international law, to
bring into being an entity possessing objective international personality, and not merely
personality recognized by them alone […].
ICJ, Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations, advisory opinion,
1949, p. 185.
All international organisations have an objective international legal personality.
Do you agree with that statement?
O’Connell states “Legal action is the index of juristic personality; only persons comprehended by the law can perform actions prescribed by the law” (O’Connell 1970:80) He suggests therefore that international legal personality is only a way of describing an entity that is bestowed by international law with legal capacity. So, who then, are seen as possessing an international Legal Personality?
The traditional stance was that states were the main, and sometimes argued, singular subjects off international Law.
As Lauterpacht observed “the orthodox positive doctrine has been explicit in the affirmation that only states are subjects of international law” (Lauterpacht 2004:489). We can see that this is not the case though, even over a century ago when states where entering agreements with non-state actors such as principalities, cities, and indigenous peoples to name but a few. Over the last 60 years, this view has been relegated to one of an archaic nature, in part, due to the 1949 International Court of Justice advisory, which declared that the UN had an international legal personality, and also partly due to the onset of international organisations and International Criminal Law. One of the main differences between international personality and regular legal personality is that in addition to having rights and duties under the law, it also includes the “competence to create the law” (Brownlie 2003:57). As states... [continues]
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