International organisations, being established by the common will of states, are granted immunity in order to ensure they can carry out their mission independently. In this context, certain individuals appointed to work for these organisations in an official capacity may be granted a special status.
Immunity of organisations
The immunity of international organisations is determined by the provisions of the organisation’s statutes, of any possible protocol on privileges and immunities entered into between the organisation’s members as well as of the headquarters agreement concluded between the organisation and its host state.
In Switzerland the Host State Act (HSA) provides for different categories of organisations which could qualify for more or less extensive privileges, immunities and facilities. The headquarters agreement concluded with each organisation established in Switzerland sets out the status of the organisation concerned as well as the extent of immunity accorded to it by the Host State.
Immunity of officials of international organisations
The headquarters agreement concluded between each organisation and the host state governs the status of the organisation’s staff and any other person appointed to the organisation in an official capacity such as representatives of members of the organisation and international conference delegates. According to the provisions of the Host State Act and of its implementation ordinance, these persons may benefit from a more or less extensive immunity depending on the category of staff they belong to.