The immunities of States and international organisations

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Database of the CAHDI "The immunities of States and international organisations" - contribution of Netherlands - Jurisprudence of 14/05/1998

State of the Netherlands v. Azeta B.V.


District Court of Rotterdam

Date of the decision, of the judgment


Points of law

1) A foreign State is entitled to immunity from execution when execution measures are employed against the State concerned involving the attachment of property intended for the public service of that State. Establishing, maintaining and running embassies is an essential part of the function of government and hence of the public service. Moneys intended for the performance of this function must therefore be treated as property intended for the public service.

2) A letter from the deputy Foreign Minister and a ‘note verbale' from the Embassy in The Hague, in which it is stated that the credit balances in the attached bank account are intended for the running of the Embassy is sufficient to support the assumption that the present moneys are intended for the public service.

3) It was up to the defendant to adduce evidence of facts and/or circumstances to support its submission that this was not the case. The defendant wrongly demands that the Embassy should provide more detailed information about the nature and scope of the bank balances held by it, since this would entail an unacceptable interference under international law in the internal affairs of this mission.

4) The interests of the uninterrupted functioning of a diplomatic mission should prevail over the interests of executing (by expeditious means) a judgment given in the Netherlands.

Summary of the case

Azeta arranged for the credit balances of the Chilean Embassy in an account at ABN-AMRO Bank in Amsterdam to be attached by way of execution of a judgment against Chile. After the Bank had informed the Chilean ambassador of the attachment, he lodged a protest with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ambassador demanded that the Minister take steps to arrange for termination of the attachment on the ground of the Netherlands' obligation under international law to maintain the immunity of the diplomatic mission of Chile from attachment.


KG 1998, 251.

English summary: NYIL 2000, p. 264-267.

Additional information (explanations, notes, etc.)