News By/Courtesy: Vidisha Gupta | 06 Apr 2020 23:24pm IST


  • international health regulations
  • WHO Constitution
  • Biological Weapons Convention

The question still remains as to whether China is to be blamed for the spread of Coronavirus. Various articles say that China is to be blamed for the human, economic and social damage caused around the world. The main focus of this Article is to highlight the penalty which China might have to face due to breach of its international obligations.

A class action suit has been filed in the US District Court seeking damages suffered from Covid-19 pandemic. Further, on March 9th, 2020 a complaint was also filed by advocate Sudheer Kumar Ojha alleging that the Chinese Government had a conspiracy behind the spread of coronavirus. In addition to this the International Council of Jurists (ICJ) has moved the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seeking reparations for the damaged caused by China to the member nations.

Elaborating on the legal provisions under which China has be held liable to compensate the world are as under: International Health Regulations, 2005; the WHO Constitution; International Law Commission,2001; and Biological Weapon Convention. The international customary law on ‘state responsibility’ holds that a state violating international law has an obligation to make full reparation for the injury caused by the internationally wrong act.

Under Article 6 and 7 of the International Health Regulations(2005) China as a member state has he duty to inform about the viral outbreak within 24 hours of determining its nature. Along with it, the member state is also obliged to provide all the public health information available. These obligations were clearly violated by China. Article 75 of the WHO Constitution states that those disputes which are not settled by the health assembly are to be referred to the International Court of Justice. Thus, if China’s guilt is not decided by the health assembly, the same is to be referred to the ICJ. The damages for it can be claimed under Articles 21 and 22 of the WHO Constitution.

The International Law Commission (2001) in its Article 1 states the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts which have been defined further under the same. On the other hand, the Article of State Responsibility under Article 31 holds that the states are required to make full reparations for the injury caused by their internationally wrongful acts. The United Nations Charter also lays down the liability of the states for the internationally wrongful acts. Lastly, the Biological Weapons Convention under Article 6 states that the member states have the right to request the UN Security Council to investigate alleged breaches of the Convention and to comply with its subsequent decisions.  

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 07 Apr 2020 2:00am IST

Tags : IHR, Covid 19, ICJ, BWC

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