Document Type : Article


1 Prof., Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. Student in Public International Law, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



The outbreak of the Corona Virus in China has led to a global pandemic which caused adverse effects on economic, social and humanitarian aspects of the international community. The statute of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) approved in 2005 are two main legal instruments aimed at preventing, responding and controlling widespread infectious diseases. These instruments oblige WHO members to notify and inform the organization about the outbreak of infectious diseases without delay and in the most efficient way. Since the right to health and the right to life, two fundamental human rights, are endangered by a pandemic, it seems that timely notification by the origin country has become a customary rule, which is reflected in United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Chinese government as a party to the above-mentioned instruments has violated its treaty and non-treaty obligations by not informing the WHO of the outbreak, as well as threatening those who tried to do so. Therefore, its international responsibility can be invoked, which will be examined in this paper. The possibility of filing a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice will also be analyzed.


  1. English

    1. A) Articles
    2. Aginam, O. (2002), “International law and communicable diseases”, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 80, pp 946-951.
    3. Argentini, M. (2021), “Right to Health and Obligation of Prompt Notification: Possible China’s International Responsibility in Relation to Covid-19”, Revista Jurídica Portucalense, pp.43-60.
    4. Creutz, K. (2020), “China’s Responsibility for the COVID-19 Pandemic”, Finnish Institute of International Affairs working paper, 115, pp.1-15.
    5. Sirleaf, M. (2018), “Responsibility for epidemics”, Tex. L. Rev., 97, pp.101-169
    6. Usulor, C. (2020), “COVID-19: Examining China's Liability under International Law”, Available at SSRN 3667341, pp.1-7
    7. B) Documents
    8. Constitution of the World Health Organization
    9. International Health Regulations (2005)
    10. International Labour Organization, Covid-19 and the world of work, 25 january 2021
    11. statute of the international court of justice
    12. the role of the international court of justice
    13. UNICEF GLOBAL COVID-19 Situation Report, No. 12 September 2020


    1. C) Cases
    2. ICJ, Alleged Violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Islamic Republic of Iran v United States of America), 2018
    3. ICJ, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, advisory opinions,1996
    4. ICJ, Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict (Request for Advisory Opinion by the World Health Organization(,1995


    References In Persian:

    1. A) Books
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    1. B) Articles
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