The immunities of States and international organisations

This database contains the original national contributions bringing together information on The immunities of States and international organisations

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Member State
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Database of the CAHDI "The immunities of States and international organisations" - contribution of Iceland - Jurisprudence of 12/12/2002

The Prosecution (State) v. Ingólfur Guðmundsson, Arnar Ingi Jónsson and Erpur Þórólfur Eyvindarson (individuals).


Supreme Court (Hæstiréttur)

Date of the decision, of the judgment


Points of law

The Court establishes that the act of throwing a Molotov cocktail at an embassy is a public act of disrespect towards a foreign State and punishable by law when committed in public and directed at official embassy premises. The embassy premises were considered to be an emblem of the foreign State in Iceland and a part thereof according to public international law.

Summary of the case

The defendants were accused of having publicly disgraced a foreign nation and a foreign State, pursuant to Article 95 of the Penal Code, by throwing a Molotov cocktail against the place of residence of the Embassy of the United States of America and of the Ambassador.

It was pointed out that the conduct, i.e. to disgrace publicly a foreign nation or a foreign State within the meaning of Article 95(1) of the Penal Code, must consist of an insult to or disrespect for the nation, in one way or another, the aim of which would be to attract attention, and of an act of disparagement and the demonstration of contempt and dishonour. The defendants´ conduct, i.e. to attack the facade of the American Embassy with a Molotov cocktail, the intention of which seemed to have been to leave tracks rather than to cause significant damage, was be deemed to have disgraced the United States of America, the American people or its leaders, since the Molotov cocktail exploded on the wall within a very short distance from the United States Coat of Arms and the American flag.

The aforementioned act was deemed to have constituted an act of public disrespect for the United States of America, since it was initiated in public and directed against a public building bearing a symbol of the United States of America in Iceland and a part of that State pursuant to established public international law cf. Article 22 of the Vienna Convention, cf. Act of Parliament No 16/1971 on the adherence of Iceland to the Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The defendants were therefore found guilty of having violated Article 95(1) of the Penal Code.


The Supreme Court´s Collection of Court Rulings 2002 (Dómasafn Hæstaréttar 2002).

Additional information (explanations, notes, etc.)