In addressing the topic of the immunity of state officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction, the International Law Commission (ILC) took on one of the most contentious issues in contemporary international law. The question whether functional immunity applies when officials are accused of having committed international crimes has divided courts and scholars alike, and the ILC was deeply split. The “international crimes” exception set forth in Draft Article 7 was, exceptionally, put up for a vote, with twenty-one votes cast in favor of provisional adoption, one abstention, and eight negative votes. Because the ILC has a mandate to both codify and progressively develop international law, these figures do not help resolve what was arguably the real bone of contention: whether or not the exception is already part of customary international law—that is, whether it is lex lata.
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