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

Information on the contribution

Member State
Type of document
Permanent link to the contribution
Database of the CAHDI "The immunities of States and international organisations" - contribution of Italy - Jurisprudence of 19/04/1973

Pelizon (individual) v. SETAF Headquarters (body corporate)


Court of Appeal of Venice

Date of the decision, of the judgment


Points of law

The decision admits the immunity from civil jurisdiction only for foreign States when they act as sovereign bodies and not when they act as private subjects.

Summary of the case

The decision rejects the exception raised by the US Government, according to which it would not be possible to distinguish between public and private relations in the exercise of a typically sovereign activity, such as the organisation and maintenance of troops.

The 1951 London Convention confirmed a customary international law principle, based on which foreign States are exempt from jurisdiction only with reference to acts being the expression of a concrete exercise of their sovereignty, i.e. private law acts. In fact, in Article IX, paragraph 4, the Convention expressly reaffirmed the principle according to which working and employment relations concluded between the armed forces or a civil body of a member State of the Atlantic Alliance and a private citizen of the host State are governed by the legislation in force in the hosting State. As a consequence, the Contracting Parties to the Convention, and therefore the United States of America too, accepted the recognition of the private law nature of working relations concluded with Italian citizens.


Italian Yearbook of International Law, 1977, 338

Additional information (explanations, notes, etc.)

London Convention of 19 June 1951 (NATO-SOFA Convention)