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Diplomatic immunity. (DI)

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Ive known about diplomatic immunity (DI) for many years, but i never fully grasped the full scope of just how far reaching it is, until now.

 

I assume most of you gents know about the poor lad that was struck and killed by a diplomats wife.

 

I read tonight that the victim's family is attempting to sue the US, presumably for damages (wrong term?). 

 

What is your reaction, if any, to this ordeal?

 

Should DI extend to family as it does in this case?

To what extent should the wife be prosecuted, if at all? If so what should her punishment be and will that course of action weaken the protection DI provides? 

 

 

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Needs better clarification. DI needs to be specified to stop rogue regimes from arresting diplomats for B.S.....But....things like the situation you referenced, you should have to answer for.

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I've got no dog in this hunt and so will fall back to my default opinion of "it's terribly tragic and I'm sure something will happen after everything runs its course".  :(

 

but also I wanted to add that this is a decent explanation of Diplomatic immunity in general for those who may not already know the nuances:

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not speaking specifically to this case, but I believe that in far too many instances the legal system comes nowhere close to administering "justice".  I hold that vigilante justice is better than no justice at all.

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Live and/or work anywhere around the DC area (including down here in Richmond...we're becoming a suburb of DC:crazy:).  If you see a Diplomat plate on a vehicle on the road, get as far away from it as you possibly can.

 

 

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I grew up outside of DC and witnessed many violations by cars with diplomatic tags.  I never witnessed a event like the one in London.  A sad and tragic event.

 

However, I do remember incidents involving diplomats that caused personal injury and, yes, even death of a US citizen.  As I recall, the diplomats were "recalled home" after the event and did not return to America.  This is the "generally accepted" actions of the various country's state departments.  While I do not condone the actions, the US is no different than other countries.

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yeah, unfortunately DI crap is all a... necessary evil (for lack of a better term).  It's a huge, multinational treaty and chances are slim it's going to change anytime soon. :( 

there are ways around the paperwork and you can see that in action as the family is trying to sue the US over it.  In the end they might get something. 

 

I do wonder how car insurance works over there.  by all accounts this appears to be an accident, and I'm guessing the car she was driving was insured. :dunno:

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I would agree that some clarification should be made on DI for situations like this but I feel as though most countries wouldn't want more clarification because it would then make retaliation that much easier. 

 

Say they clarify that assault would result in arrest, a diplomat from country A assaults someone in country B and gets arrested.  Now country A says that a diplomat from country B assaulted someone in their country and now arrests said individual as well.

 

Is this fair at all? No, but it would happen more frequently and cause more frequent tensions between countries.  It seems as though it's easier for countries to just "trust" foreign diplomats not to break laws to allow diplomats better security in all countries.  It's one of those situations you have to take the lesser of two evils and I think it's easier to sweep crimes under the rug rather than deal with constant problems.  

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I was under the impression that the Diplomat's country was supposed to charge them in accordance with the laws of their home country. So they return home and are charged with the crime that fits their statute.  

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5 hours ago, rylee144 said:

I was under the impression that the Diplomat's country was supposed to charge them in accordance with the laws of their home country. So they return home and are charged with the crime that fits their statute.  

 

I have never heard that.

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Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws, but they can still be expelled. Modern diplomatic immunity was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) which has been ratified by all but a handful of nations. The concept and custom of diplomatic immunity dates back thousands of years. Many principles of diplomatic immunity are now considered to be customary law. Diplomatic immunity was developed to allow for the maintenance of government relations, including during periods of difficulties and armed conflict. When receiving diplomats, who formally represent the sovereign, the receiving head of state grants certain privileges and immunities to ensure they may effectively carry out their duties, on the understanding that these are provided on a reciprocal basis.

Originally, these privileges and immunities were granted on a bilateral, ad hoc basis, which led to misunderstandings and conflict, pressure on weaker states, and an inability for other states to judge which party was at fault. An international agreement known as the Vienna Convention codified the rules and agreements, providing standards and privileges to all states.

It is possible for the official's home country to waive immunity; this tends to happen only when the individual has committed a serious crime, unconnected with their diplomatic role (as opposed to, say, allegations of spying), or has witnessed such a crime. However, many countries refuse to waive immunity as a matter of course; individuals have no authority to waive their own immunity[1] (except perhaps in cases of defection).[2] Alternatively, the home country may prosecute the individual.[2] If immunity is waived by a government so that a diplomat (or their family members) can be prosecuted, it must be[according to whom?] because there is a case to answer and it is in the public interest to prosecute them. For instance, in 2002, a Colombian diplomat in London was prosecuted for manslaughter, once diplomatic immunity was waived by the Colombian government.[3][4]

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10 hours ago, rylee144 said:

I was under the impression that the Diplomat's country was supposed to charge them in accordance with the laws of their home country. So they return home and are charged with the crime that fits their statute.  

 

Okay, but ...

 

Quote

Alternatively, the home country may prosecute the individual.

 

You do understand that "may" is optional, right? The home country "may" prosecute does not mean they will prosecute, nor does it obligate them to prosecute. Have you ever heard of even one instance where that happened?

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5 minutes ago, Eagle said:

Have you ever heard of even one instance where that happened?

yes, it has happened before.  but usually only after pressure from the slighted country.  If I remember right, I think the video I linked has a couple examples.

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3 minutes ago, Pete M said:

yes, it has happened before.  but usually only after pressure from the slighted country.  If I remember right, I think the video I linked has a couple examples.

 

It may have happened, somewhere, some time, but I'm 75 years old and I have never heard of it happening so it's not exactly commonplace. And it is optional, not mandatory.

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Just thinking.....wouldn't be surprised if alcohol was involved. Which would harden my stance that diplomats/family members answer for their transgressions. The truth will come out into the light of day eventually.

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