Responsibility of a State for the conduct of another State

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Definition[edit | edit source]

Responsibility of a State for the conduct of another State
A joint or collective wrongful act may result in a plurality of responsible States.[1] According to the principle of independent responsibility, each State is responsible for its own internationally wrongful conduct.[2] However, a State may also be responsible for a wrongful act of another State if it is implicated in the conduct of the latter. International law recognizes several forms of derived international responsibility:[3]
  • Aid or assistance with a view to assisting in the commission of a wrongful act by another State;[4]
  • Direction or control over the commission of an internationally wrongful act of another State;[5]
  • Coercion of another State into the commission of an internationally wrongful act.[6]

These forms of implication have in common that the specific nature of the relationship between the State that is the actual author of the unlawful act and the implicated State causes the incurrence of responsibility of the latter.[7]

The assisting State will typically not be responsible for the assisted wrongful act[8] but for a distinct wrongful act – i.e., for deliberately assisting another State in breaching an international obligation by which they are both bound.[9] In contrast, the exercise of direction and control or coercion by one State over the commission of an internationally wrongful act by another incurs responsibility for the act itself[10] towards the injured State.[11] The coerced State might benefit from force majeure if the requirements are met.[12] In that case, it would be solely the State exerting coercion that would bear responsibility.[13]

Appendixes[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. See in detail Christian Dominicé, ‘Attribution of Conduct to Multiple States and the Implication of a State in the Act of Another State’ in James Crawford and others (eds), The Law of International Responsibility (OUP 2010) 282-284.
  2. James Crawford, State Responsibility: The General Part (CUP 2013) 333; ILC Articles on State Responsibility, commentary to Part IV, para 1.
  3. James Crawford, State Responsibility: The General Part (CUP 2013) 336.
  4. ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 16. This concept was applied by the ICJ in the Bosnian Genocide Case, see Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), ICJ, Judgement (2007) para 420.
  5. ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 17. This form of indirect responsibility is rather rare, belligerent occupation being one of the few possible examples. Distinction must be made from the situation where an organ of one State has been placed at the disposal of another State - upon certain conditions, acts of this organ might be attributable to the latter State. See Tallinn Manual 2.0, Rule 16.
  6. ILC Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 18.
  7. Christian Dominicé, ‘Attribution of Conduct to Multiple States and the Implication of a State in the Act of Another State’ in James Crawford and others (eds), The Law of International Responsibility (OUP 2010) 284.
  8. In situations where aid or assistance is an essential and integral element of the assisted State´s operation, assisting State may be responsible for the assisted conduct. Responsibility of the assisting State therefore attaches for the extent of its contribution. See Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to Rule 18, para 6.
  9. Christian Dominicé, ‘Attribution of Conduct to Multiple States and the Implication of a State in the Act of Another State’ in James Crawford and others (eds), The Law of International Responsibility (OUP 2010) 285; ILC Articles on State Responsibility, commentary to Art. 16, para 10.
  10. ILC Articles on State Responsibility, commentary to Art. 17, para 1, commentary to Art. 18, paras 1 and 7; Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to Rule 18, para 6.
  11. Christian Dominicé, ‘Attribution of Conduct to Multiple States and the Implication of a State in the Act of Another State’ in James Crawford and others (eds), The Law of International Responsibility (OUP 2010) 288.
  12. ILC Articles on State Responsibility, commentary to Art. 23, para 3.
  13. Christian Dominicé, ‘Attribution of Conduct to Multiple States and the Implication of a State in the Act of Another State’ in James Crawford and others (eds), The Law of International Responsibility (OUP 2010) 288-289.

Bibliography and further reading[edit | edit source]