International Organisations and States Within an Agency Relationship: The Distribution of Responsibility

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This article first examines the entire range of agency relationships between an
international organisation, acting as a principal, and one or more states, acting
as its agent(s). It is here argued that an agency relationship between an interna-
tional organisation and one or more state(s) can be established by the constitutive treaty of the organisation, or ad hoc. In particular, an ad hoc
agency relationship results from a state placing one of its organs at the disposal of an international organisation and under its effective control, with the purpose of carrying out functions of that organisation. The article then examines the consequences for the responsibility of the organisation and the relevant state(s) of an agency relationship between an international organisation acting as a principal and one or more states acting as its agent(s). It is demonstrated that an international organisation may be responsible for
damage caused by the conduct of the state. Furthermore, it is argued that the state itself may bear responsibility for having established or for not having terminated the agency relationship if it commits wrongful conduct on behalf of the international organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-364
Number of pages30
JournalNetherlands International Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • international organisations
  • states
  • agency relationship
  • responsibility of international organisations
  • responsibility of states
  • International Law Commision
  • Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations


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