[Doing Business Right Talk] Human rights and the immunity of international financial institutions - reflections on the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Jam v. IFC

24 April 2019
  • Starts at: 16:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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About the event
On 27 February 2019, in a 7-1 decision, the US Supreme Court made an end to the absolute immunity from suit that international organisations (IOs) had consistently enjoyed in US courts. The decision realigns the immunity regime for IOs with that for foreign states, which leaves the opportunity to sue organisations such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) when they engage in commercial activities. In a flare of enthusiasm among academics and (human rights) activists, the decision was immediately granted a landmark status and marked as a turning point in the long history of impunity for social, ecological and human harm caused by the activities of IOs. This Doing Business Right Talk will summarise the reasoning in the decision and explore the foreseeable effects on the legal accountability of IOs, and international financial institutions in particular. The most immediate effect, in that sense, might not be located on the avenue of adjudication, but in the various accountability mechanisms that have been created within IOs themselves.

About the speaker
Dimitri van den Meerssche is a researcher in the Dispute Settlement and Adjudication strand at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut. His research reflects on the law of international organisations, international legal practices and technologies of global governance. This work is inspired by insights from science and technology studies, performativity theory and actor-network theory. Dimitri is currently finalising his doctoral dissertation at the European University Institute, which he expects to defend in winter 2019. His dissertation is entitled “The World Bank’s Lawyers – An Inquiry into the Life of Law as Institutional Practice”. In the context of this dissertation, Dimitri has worked for three months at the World Bank Legal Vice-Presidency and spent one semester as visiting doctoral researcher at the London School of Economics.

The event will take place on 24 April from 16:00 to 17:00.