Are Diplomats Exempt from Laws

Diplomatic immunity has existed for hundreds of years under customary international law as a kind of golden rule: treat other diplomats as you wish. This custom has also helped prevent politicians from ordering that diplomats be prosecuted on trumped-up charges in order to put pressure on their foreign enemies. The rules of diplomatic immunity were codified in 1961 in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Diplomatic immunity is a principle of international law that provides foreign diplomats with some protection from criminal or civil prosecution under the laws of the host countries. Will diplomatic immunity, often criticized as a policy of “getting away with murder,” really give diplomats carte blanche to break the law? Qatari diplomat Mohammed al-Madadi sowed terror aboard a flight from Washington, D.C., to Denver on Friday by smoking in the bathroom. When you are up against the American Marshalls, it is said that he made a crack because he lit a bomb in his shoes and said he had diplomatic immunity. How far does diplomatic immunity go? Only the most egregious criminal cases involving malicious behavior appear to have led to revocability, Anderson says. In 1997, when Georgi Makharadze, a diplomat from the country of Georgia, caused an accident in which a 16-year-old girl was killed and four others injured while driving drunk in Washington, D.C., Georgian leaders first sought immunity for Makharadze, who was the second highest-ranking diplomat in the embassy at the time. Later, however, at the request of the United States, they waived his immunity and allowed the United States to prosecute Makharadze. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault and was sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison. Makharadze spent some of that time in the United States before returning to Georgia, where he served most of his sentence. Diplomatic immunity only works if every country, including our own, follows the rules. How the Netherlands treats foreign diplomats has implications for how other countries treat our diplomats.

We must treat foreign diplomats in the Netherlands with the same respect and standards that we expect from others abroad. Violations of the law by diplomats included espionage, smuggling, custody violations, money laundering,[17] tax evasion, terrorist threats,[18] slavery, internet hunting for sex,[19] and murder. The host State has an obligation not to “discriminate between States”; In other words, these fees should be payable equally by all accredited diplomats. This can allow the diplomatic corps to negotiate in groups with the authorities of the host country. Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978, 22 U.S.C. ยง 254a et seq. regulates diplomatic immunity in the United States. Title 22 sets out the level of protection accorded to diplomatic personnel; Protection increases in parallel with the status of the official within a diplomatic mission. For more information on certain immunities granted to foreign diplomats residing in the United States, see the U.S. Department of State`s table on immunities and privileges.

An international law that largely protects foreign diplomats and their family members from prosecution has come under scrutiny after the wife of a U.S. diplomat left Britain after an accident that killed a 19-year-old man. Because of their title, diplomats are exempt from being prosecuted by the state in open session if they are suspected of being guilty of a crime. [Citation needed] These agents are not only free from the criminal jurisdiction of the State, but they are also immune to administrative and civil jurisdiction. This is true for most scenarios, but there are a few exceptions if diplomatic immunity can be waived. In December 2014, Gambian diplomats were convicted by Southwark Crown Court in London of selling duty-free tobacco from the Gambian Embassy in the UK. The Crown Prosecution Service told the court that much of it was sold by the embassy without paying VAT and excise duties. [40] The problem of the abuse of diplomatic immunity in family relations, particularly alimony and family allowances, is so widespread that it was discussed at the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Historically, the UN has not been involved in family disputes and, invoking sovereign immunity, has refused to seize the salaries of diplomats who owe money for child support. [Citation needed] However, in September 1995, the Acting Head of the United Nations Legal Department recognized that there was a moral and legal obligation to assume at least some responsibility in family disputes. Fathers who worked as diplomats and refused to fulfill their family financial obligations increased at the United Nations: several men who had left their wives and children still demanded UN dependency, travel and education allowances for their families, even though they no longer provided for those families. [95] If a government waives immunity to allow the prosecution of one of its diplomats or family members, the crime must be serious enough to prosecute in the public interest. For example, in 2002, the Colombian government lifted the diplomatic immunity of one of its diplomats in London so that he could be prosecuted for manslaughter. At lower levels, employees of foreign embassies enjoy immunity only from actions related to their official duties. For example, they cannot be forced to testify in U.S. courts about the actions of their employers or government. Fortunately, today`s Dutch diplomats are rarely victims of terrorism or other violent attacks. A tragic exception was the assassination of the First Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Tunis in 1991.

But there have also been close calls where Dutch diplomats have been taken hostage, attacked or narrowly escaped bomb explosions or gunfire. Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures that diplomats are granted safe passage and are not considered vulnerable to prosecution under the laws of the host country, although they can still be deported. Modern diplomatic immunity was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), which was ratified by all but a handful of countries. The concept and custom of diplomatic immunity dates back thousands of years. Many principles of diplomatic immunity are now considered customary law. Diplomatic immunity was developed to allow for the maintenance of government relations, even in times of hardship and armed conflict.

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