DSK Loses Immunity Claim in NY Civil Suit

As Opinio Juris’ Peggy McGuinness explains, a New York state trial court (confusingly called a “supreme court” in New York) today turned down former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn’s claim of civil immunity in a suit by the (former) Sofitel Hotel maid for acts that first got DSK charged criminally with sexual assault – charges later dismissed, however:

On a quick read, it looks like the judge rejected DSK’s claim that he was entitled to diplomatic or “status” immunity on the grounds that: IMF officials do not fall within the status/absolute immunity protections of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity; the U.S. is not a party to the Specialized Agencies Convention of 1947, which lays out privileges and immunities of officials of certain international organizations; (3) the Specialized Agencies treaty does not represent customary international law of IO immunities; (4) even if it the Specialized Agencies treaty was applicable, the scope of immunities for IMF officials is limited under an annex to that agreement by the Bretton Woods Agreement and IMF Articles, which specifically limit immunity only to official acts. DSK is not entitled to this official acts/functional immunity … since he was not carrying out official duties during his visit to the Sofitel.

The full opinion is here; see the Opinio Juris discussion as well on the further customary international law claim raised by DSK but also rejected by the court. (Added: And see this further note by Julian Ku at OJ noting that the court didn’t see a need to reach the customary law questions raised by DSK in the case.)