Full text: Responsibility of states for damage caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners

subject to the same principles governing responsibility for the acts of private 
citizens. However, as regards official communities, counties, or other political 
subdivisions which exercise public functions, their acts might be construed 
as acts of the State proper which, by reason of national organization, have 
been delegated to local authorities. In these cases international responsibility 
is based upon the same general principles applying to State organs.! If the 
acts are within the range of the local activities of the community or other 
political subdivision, the State is responsible for them, although they do not 
bear in fact the characteristics of State acts. The real foundation for this 
principle lies on the fact that the State should become reconciled to the 
view that all public acts within its jurisdiction, included in the sphere of 
action of its legislative and executive organs, and by whomsoever performed, 
are to be deemed in international circles as acts of the State itself. That 
which the State itself is not permitted to do under international law, can 
aeither be performed by its constituent or subordinate entities. Should they 
do it, the State is to be held responsible therefor.2 
(h) Responsibility in the case of federated governments for the acts of 
the various constituent entities is termed indirect responsibility, because 
it is averred that the State becomes liable for the acts of others. This, how- 
ever, is true only in part. Direct responsibility is involved in the case 
of federated governments when one of the member States violates the obli- 
gations undertaken by the Federal Union, or when it fails to perform its 
duties or do the necessary for the discharge of such obligations. The acts or 
omissions of political subdivisions are immaterial as far as international law is 
concerned. International duties are imposed exclusively upon the Union 
itself, which, in its collective capacity, represents the entire Nation in the 
international sphere. A distinction has to be drawn, however, between the 
responsibility of the federal subdivision or its duty to indemnify for inju- 
ries inflicted, or violation of the international law, and the position of the 
federal government when it has to take cognizance of claims for the indi- 
vidual obligations of the member states and make allowance therefor. This 
is the position which involves what jurists have termed indirect responsi- 
bility. On the other hand, if it is a confederacy in which the federal states 
retain certain international character, each member is individually responsible. 
* “When in this connection the community executes acts which, if performed by the 
State itself would be contrary to the Law of Nations, the State becomes immediately 
responsible therefor to the foreign State thereby injured, inasmuch as such acts of the 
community are, for all practical purposes, ‘acts of the State’. Moreover, the damage 
sustained by the foreign State is due to an act which, in a centralized form of govern- 
ment, amounts to a formal act of the State. Undoubtedly the State cannot, by de- 
centralizing its organs, avoid responsibility for acts that are, in fact, acts of the State 
Soa (Triepel—Rapports du droit international avec le droit interne—p. 354.) 

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