Western European Union v S. M.

Belgian Supreme Court, Western European Union v S. M., Nr. S.04.0129.F, 21 December 2009

The assertion that immunity is on the same level as the ECHR, which considers access to the courts to be a fundamental right, must be made with the necessary caution. The international organisation is an actor of international law, whereas the proper administration of justice takes place -in principle- within the State. Moreover, international organisations are not party to international instruments such as the ECHR. Of course, this does not mean that the principles contained in international human rights treaties are not applicable to international organisations. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court is of the opinion that the judge who establishes that a conflict has arisen between two norms of international law that also apply in the internal legal order (access to the courts and immunity) and that are invoked respectively by the parties in the dispute, may not give precedence to one norm over the other.

Secretariat of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP Group) v B.D.

Supreme Court, ACP Group v B.D., Nr. C.07.0407.F, 21 December 2009

In its judgment of 21 December 2009, the Belgian Supreme Court rejects an appeal by the Secretariat of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (the ACP Group), in which it claimed that the Brussels Court of Appeal had disregarded its immunity from execution in contravention of Protocol No. 3 to the Lomé IV Convention. According to the Supreme Court, provisions granting immunity to international organizations normally do not constitute an impermissible restriction of Article 6 ECHR. However, the proportionality of these restrictions must be examined on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the availability of alternative means of redress for the person against whom the immunity is invoked. In the present case, the contested judgment had found that no such alternative means of redress were present. Accordingly, the contested judgment had duly motivated why the immunity from execution as invoked by the ACP Group was incompatible with Article 6.1 ECHR.