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ATTRIBUTION OF CONDUCT TO A STATE-THE SUBJECTIVE ELEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OT THE STATE FOR INTERNATIONALLY WRONGFUL ACTS

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Author(s): FELICIA MAXIM

Journal: Challenges of the Knowledge Society
ISSN 2068-7796

Volume: 2;
Issue: -;
Start page: 1084;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: international responsibility | internationally wrongful acts | state | attribution of conduct to a state | the subjective element

ABSTRACT
In order to establish responsibility of states for internationally wrongful act, two elements are identified. First, the conduct in question must be attributable to the State under international law. Secondly, for responsibility to attach to the act of the State, the conduct must constitute a breach of an international legal obligation in force for that State at that time. For particular conduct to be characterized as an internationally wrongful act, it must first be attributable to the State. The State is a real organized entity, a legal person with full authority to act under international law. But to recognize this is not to deny the elementary fact that the State cannot act of itself. States can act only by and through their agents and representatives. In determining what constitutes an organ of a State for the purposes of responsibility, the internal law and practice of each State are of prime importance. The structure of the State and the functions of its organs are not, in general, governed by international law. It is a matter for each State to decide how its administration is to be structured and which functions are to be assumed by government. But while the State remains free to determine its internal structure and functions through its own law and practice, international law has a distinct role. Conduct is thereby attributed to the State as a subject of international law and not as a subject of internal law. The State as a subject of international law is held responsible for the conduct of all the organs, instrumentalities and officials which form part of its organization and act in that capacity, whether or not they have separate legal personality under its internal law.

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