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Privileges and Immunities

The treaty-based sources of the law of international privileges and immunities for international organizations can be divided into general multilateral conventions, constituent instruments, and bilateral agreements.

As IBRD and IDA (the “World Bank”) are specialized agencies of the United Nations, the general multilateral treaty on privileges and immunities that is relevant to the World Bank status and activities is the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of Specialized Agencies, which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on November 21, 1947. More than 100 States are parties to it. For each State, and in respect of each specialized agency, the 1947 Convention enters into force as from the date of deposit of the instrument of accession or subsequent notification.


The constituent instruments (Articles of Agreement) of both IBRD and  IDA contain provisions on the position of each institution with regard to judicial process, immunity of assets from seizure, immunity of archives, freedom of assets from restrictions, privilege for communications, immunities and privileges of officers and employees, immunities from taxation. Both constituent instruments provide also that each member State must take such action as is necessary in its own territory to make effective, in terms of its own law, the principles set forth in the Article on privileges and immunities.  


Finally, provisions on privileges and immunities are found in the resident mission establishment agreement into which the World Bank has entered with its member States. A sui generis situation is that of the privileges and immunities of the World Bank Group and its officials in Kosovo, as reflected in UNMIK regulation 44 of August 10, 2000.     

What has been written above on treaty-based sources is not meant to deny the possibility of claiming immunity also under customary international law.



Updated as of February 23, 2007

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