19. International Responsibility

12 Mar

International Responsibility

1. Fundamental to the exercise of diplomatic responsibility is the necessity to have effective mechanisms for access to information. In such a situation, proper professional management of the Foreign Ministry should establish and maintain a “privileged communication network,” consisting of all its foreign diplomatic missions.

2.  It is imperative for each State to assess fully the existence and extent of its relations with other States. It must also repair any damage caused through the behaviour of the State itself or through its representatives or its citizens. This will help to preserve the quality of its relations with other States and avoid the threat of retaliation through an act of force or simply avoid being discredited in the international community.

3. The international responsibility which ensures the repair is due to a legal violation. Eventually, the malfeasance can lead to a dispute likely to be settled in international arbitration courts. It is the international responsibility of a State imputed to have committed a wrongful act to another State under international law to repair the damage to that State through an apology or agreed reparation. To agree that a wrongful act has been committed a State admits to the elements of liability.

4. Currently, international law regarding a State’s responsibility for international crimes is a developing area gaining more and more attention. In this regard, the State, in certain circumstances, subject to the primacy of international law, assumes the international responsibility of arresting and taking legal action against war criminals.

5. The theory of State responsibility in the international legal order is relatively recent. In the nineteenth century the notion of absolute sovereignty of the State left no room for conceiving any responsible to another State. The later emergence of the modern theory of rule of law resulted in accommodating the issue of State responsibility. The development of the theory of liability owes much to the legal outcomes of the damage caused by States (and their citizens) to nationals of other countries.

6. In the current development of international law, there is support of the State’s responsibility for enacting laws contrary to international legal order, some of which may be clearly opposed to an agreement to which it is a signatory.

7. There have been cases where a country (USA) has claimed responsibility for unlawful acts of individuals or companies done outside its territory (in another country), by imposing penalties on them for committing such acts. Such have been the known cases of application of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which prohibits “any offer, payment or promise of any value made directly or through intermediaries to any foreign official, who is part of the government, a state-owned company or a public international organisation or any foreign political party or candidate, with the aim of influencing any act or decision of that person, or induce it to exert its influence with a foreign government to assist him in obtaining or retaining business, allocate the business to any other person, or securing any improper advantage.”

8. Some States have often invoked circumstances precluding any international responsibility ascribed to them. In such cases, there are agreements between the States concerned alluding to force majeure, (though this is usually not successfully invoked to evade the payment of a debt), the state of need and distress, and self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

© by Odeen Ishmael

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