Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Alexander Orakhelashvili

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the international law of jurisdiction and immunities, illustrating those aspects in which the law of jurisdiction and law of immunities are mutually interdependent, as well as shedding light on the implications of that interdependence. With authoritative contributions from recognized experts, it offers an impartial perspective on the applicable international law, independent from any positions held in governmental or other institutional circles.

Chapter 11: The status of armed forces in public international law: jurisdiction and immunity

Aurel Sari

Subjects: law - academic, public international law


States have sent their armed forces into the territory of other states since the dawn of modern international law. Throughout much of this period, national forces have ventured abroad primarily in order to fight wars, occupy territory or transit through another country. However, during the course of the twentieth century, the nature of foreign deployments has changed dramatically. With the onset of the Cold War, states for the first time stationed large numbers of troops on foreign territory on a semi-permanent basis in times of peace. Peace-keeping emerged as a key instrument of collective security, together with the growing involvement of international organizations in military operations. The responsibilities of national forces have become more diverse. In addition to engaging in combat operations, the armed forces of many nations now regularly operate outside the traditional battlefield to pursue a broad variety of other missions, ranging from disaster relief to re-establishing the rule of law. The mobility of the military has increased too, enabling states to deploy their troops into distant lands at short notice. In the wake of these strategic developments, foreign military deployments have now become a common feature of contemporary international relations. The presence of foreign troops in the territory of another state raises a range of legal questions. Foremost amongst these are questions of status: what jurisdictional privileges and immunities from local jurisdiction do foreign forces enjoy in another state? International law does not provide a straightforward answer to this question.

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