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16 Law & Pol'y Int'l Bus. 893 (1984)
Causation as a Element of State Responsibility

handle is hein.journals/geojintl16 and id is 903 raw text is: CAUSATION AS AN ELEMENT OF
The Iran- U.S. Claims Tribunal has been faced with a myriad of
claims arising out of injuries to nationals of the United States allegedly
attributable to acts of Iran. While it is clear under international law
that States like Iran have a general obligation to compensate for such in-
juries, there remains some uncertainty what causal nexus must exist be-
tween act and injury before liability accrues. The author approaches
this subject from a historical, theoretical, and practical perspective, and
suggests that a causal analysis based on the breach or compliance by
States with defined legal duties is necessary to determine State respon-
sibility. He then provides a workable model which may be utilized to
further an understanding of causation and its function as a prerequisite
to a finding of State responsibility.
A State is generally obligated under international law to compen-
sate for damages resulting from unlawful' conduct which causes in-
jury to an alien. In order to recover such damages, a prospective
claimant must allege and prove three elements: (i) that there was an
act of the State; (ii) that the act was unlawful; and (iii) that the act
caused the injury in question. While virtually all recent formula-
tions of the elements of State responsibility require the existence and
unlawfulness of an act of State, few explicitly consider the necessity
of a causal nexus between the act and the injury as the predicate for
liability. This article examines the utility of a separate analysis of a
causal requirement in the threshold determination of whether a
*A.B. 1972, M.A. 1975, Columbia University; J.D. 1980, New York University School
of Law; member of the New York Bar. The author was engaged from November 1981 -
May 1983 on the legal staff of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.
1. There are, of course, also circumstances where a State is obligated under international
law to pay compensation for injuries attributable to its lawful acts, such as in the case of a
nondiscriminatory nationalization, see, e.g., American Insurance Group, Inc. v. Iran,
Award No. 93-2-3 (Dec. 19, 1983), IRANIAN ASSETS LIT. REP. at 7,744 (Jan. 13, 1984), or
where damage is caused by objects it has put into space, see Convention on Liability for
Damage Caused by Space Objects, signedat Washington, London, and Moscow, March 29,
1972, reprinted in 66 AM. J. INT'L L. 702 (1972). For purposes of this article, however, the dif-
ferences which might obtain between cases of lawful or unlawful acts causing injury are not

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