The International Law of State Immunity and Torture
by Parinaz Lak
The absence of an international provision, governing State immunity in civil cases based on extra-territorial torture, has made the issue a disputed area in the law of sovereign immunity. In recent years, national courts mostly ruled in favor of State immunity and denied to hear claims of torture victims. Although being compatible with a State’s preference not to be prosecuted before foreign courts, this norm would accord the State effective freedom to avoid accountability for torture. In the unlikely emergence of a new State practice, a possible way to move the practice in a direction that is responsive to States’ obligation in international law would be to adopt an exception to the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property that expressly annuls State immunity in cases of torture.
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Parinaz Lak is currently in the process of completing the National Committee of Accreditation requirements for Canada. She obtained her law degree from Shiraz University in Iran. Parinaz holds two LLM degrees from Tehran University and University of Toronto, both with a concentration in international law. In 2011, she received first prize for her paper, “The United Nations’ Sanctions and Challenges to Right to Education”, on a student competition held by The Iranian Association for United Nations Studies. She has served as a volunteer in various capacities with – The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, the Iranian Canadian Center for Art and Culture, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Mahak foundation (Charity supporting children suffering from cancer). She has worked as a legal consultant in Fars Chamber of Commerce and Fars Industrial Managers Association. In that capacity she gave legal consults on trade regulations, contracts and the claims process for companies to delist from the UN Sanctions. She also served as a mediator in labour disputes.
Parinaz is also a member of the Iranian-Canadian Legal Professionals, the Ontario Bar Association and the Iranian Association for United Nations Studies.