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State Immunity - Trends and Problems Encountered in Recent Swiss Practice (Andreas R. Ziegler)

The issue of state immunity has long been a very prominent topic in general international law as well as in (international) civil procedural law and debt recovery law. At different times, different aspects were of particular importance, so that there is nevertheless a certain dynamic that makes it appropriate to explain from time to time the current state of the legal debate and state practice. This contribution looks at historic and, in particular depth, at recent Swiss practice. At the moment, the theoretical focus worldwide is certainly on the issue of restricting state immunity in the event of serious human rights violations. The development with respect to the immunities for state organs (in particular the use of criminal law against inividuals) may influence eventually the state practice regarding states as such. In the Swiss practice, the accepted limitations of state immunity for related to economic activities remain of particular relevance. The general acceptance of these restrictions of state immunity in the economic spere, and the abundance of cases relying on this exception may pave the way for similar developments with regard to international crimes in order to make the international legal system somewhat more coherent in this respect as well.