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By virtue of agreements concluded by its Members, the ITER Organization, as an international public organization, enjoys privileges and immunities on the territories of the seven ITER Members.
Privileges and immunities are granted solely in the interest of the Organization with a view to avoiding any means of pressure or control from a Member or Government so that the purpose of the Organization is pursued in total independence.
This includes independence of the Organization from the Members, and independence of the international civil servants staffing the Organization from any internal or external source.
Privileges and Immunities of the ITER Organization
Pursuant to Article 12 of the ITER Agreement, the ITER Organization, its property, and assets shall enjoy such privileges and immunities as necessary for the exercise of its functions.
These privileges and immunities namely consist of:
• Inviolability of buildings and premises; • Inviolability of archives and documents; • Immunity from jurisdiction and execution ; • Immunity from any of requisition, confiscation, expropriation and sequestration for the ITER Organization's property and assets ; • Immunity from any form of administrative or provisional constraint; • Exemption from direct taxes for its property and assets within the scope of its activities.
At all times, the ITER Organization is obligated to cooperate with the competent authorities of the Members and the Host State in order to prevent any abuse of the privileges and immunities; facilitate the proper administration of justice; and ensure observance of police regulations and regulations concerning the applicable national laws and regulations of the Host State in the fields of public and occupational health and safety, nuclear safety, radiation protection, licensing, nuclear substances, environmental protection and protection from acts of malevolence (Article 14 of the ITER Agreement).
Privileges and Immunities of the Director-General and staff
According to the ITER Agreement, the Director-General and the directly employed staff members of the ITER Organization shall enjoy in the territory of the Members such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the exercise of their functions in connection with the ITER Organization.
The Director General enjoys the privileges and immunities of a diplomatic agent pursuant to the Vienna Convention of 1961.
The ITER Council is the competent authority to waive immunities in any case where it considers that immunity would impede the course of justice and that waiver would not prejudice the purposes for which immunity was accorded, and where—in the case of the ITER Organization, the Director-General, and staff—the Council determines that such a waiver would not be contrary to the interest of the ITER Organization and its Members.
ITER Organization Legal Affairs deals with all questions concerning the legal status of the ITER Organization and its staff members—including privileges and immunities—as well as with any issues connected with the interpretation and application of agreements with the French authorities. Legal Affairs acts as liaison with the French authorities on these matters.
For the implementation of the privileges and immunities of the ITER Organization on the territory of the Host State (France), the ITER Organization signed a Headquarters Agreement with the French government. (The original document in French can be consulted here.)