Attribution of Act to a State

Sociology | Mercantile Law | International Law | International Relations

Chapter-2 of the Act deals with the elaboration of the acts which can be attributed to a state under the international law;

A. Conduct of State Organs (Art#4)
The conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central Government or of a territorial unit of the State.

B. Conduct of Persons Exercising Elements of Governmental Authority (Art#5)
The conduct of a person or entity which is not an organ of the State under article 4 but which is empowered by the law of that State to exercise elements of the governmental authority shall be considered an act of the State under international law.
Case Reference; Caire Claim: France vs. Mexico (1929) when the French national Caire was murdered during extortion by the Mexican military officers in Mexico and the state was held responsible.

C. The Acts of Private Persons
Act of a private person can’t be attributed to the state unless the state owns that act. For instance, in 1979 the officials at US embassy in Iran were made hostages by the civilians in wake of Iranian Revolution. This was an act of private persons which could not have been attributed to the state but when the Iranian State backed this act the International Court held it responsible.

D. The Acts of Insurrection or Insurrectionary (Art#10)
In case a foreign national is injured or killed by a group of rebels or by the act of any insurrectionary then, if the state has already taken sufficient actions to crush those rebels then it won’t be responsible otherwise the act can be attributed to the state.

For instance, recently Iraqi insurgents group ‘Islamic State’ beheaded an American journalist but apparently Iraqi state can’t be held liable for this action of the militants as the state is already fighting against them and even when the US is militarily aiding that in this regard.

But if the group of insurgents have taken over a part of a state and have established their government then the act done will be attributed to the new state established in that part of territory.