Proceedings for Allegations of Torture

The Jurisdictional Immunity of States in National Civil Proceedings for Allegation of Torture

The dissertation is dedicated to the complex relationship that exists between the privilege of a State not to be subjected to the civil jurisdiction of another State and the various international obligations imposed on a national court to grant victims of torture access to justice and remedy. Despite recent case law by both the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in this matter, a need for further legal clarications can be identied as victims of torture, inhuman, and degrading treatment continue to sue foreign governments in the domestic justice system of another State.

This monography elaborates whether a State still enjoys jurisdictional immunity in national civil proceedings when allegations of torture are raised, it describes potential legal mechanisms that would allow a national court to assess jurisdiction over a foreign court in reparation proceedings, and analyzes comprehensively whether the forum State, in whose courts reparation claims are introduced, finds itself at a crossway between irreconcilable international obligations.


On 4 March 2020, the author will present his findings in a live webinar and take questions from the audience.

Martin Hemmi

After studying law at the Universities of Geneva and Lucerne, Martin Hemmi worked as a project manager at the Swiss Consulates General in San Francisco and Atlanta and as a research assistant at the Institute for Public Law and the Center for Migration Law at the University of Bern. His doctoral thesis on international law entitled "The Jurisdictional Immunity of States in National Civil Proceedings for Allegation of Torture" was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. He spent extended research periods at the Transnational Law Institute of King's College London and at the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. After completing his dissertation, Martin Hemmi worked as Associate Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at UNODC headquarters in Vienna in the section for human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

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