Diplomatic Immunity--An Unemotional Primer and Contextual Reminder

NSP

LE
So two pages of "heated debate" can be boiled down to "Send the bloody woman back to answer the summons, dammit."

Good - that's settled, then. If they're quick they should be able to get her on tonight's flight; gets into LHR circa 0700BST. Cressida's finest will be there to greet her with warm smiles and cold bracelets. Northants plain clothes will pick her from Paddington Green just as soon as they can get through the morning rush on the North Circular.

All flippancy aside, in a just and conscionable world she'd have never attempted to evade justice and, if as she did, she were to attempt it the authorities on her side of the pond would send her straight back as soon as Priti got off of the 'phone with Pompeo, without waiting for an extradition request.

But we operate under the seemingly loaded-one-way US-UK extradition treaty and we can apparently go whistle for it.

Which are points all thrashed out in the original thread. Did that possibly divert because all the sensible on-topic arguments had played out, perhaps...?
 
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As the OP, may I politely ask that all posts try to focus on the primary subject matter of the thread, which is diplomatic immunity as outlined and explained in the CPS link. If the additional links are causing too much distraction in this regard or morphing the thread into a rehash of the American woman incident, kindly ignore them.
Of course I recognise that this subject just happened to be worthy of discussion and was not prompted by anything which is currently in the news in England, however, I do feel that some members of arrse may not realise this and tolerance should be shown.
 
Given the morphing of the recent thread originally regarding the diplomatic immunity issue involved in a fatal car-motorcycle crash to somewhat of a general bash America fest (where the usual sweeping and shouty generalizations are made and repeated about how "bad" America and all 300+ million Americans are and even expanding for example to take an ad hominem swipe--by a Mod no less-- at an American ARRSE poster saying he wants kids to die rather than give up his guns etc. etc.), I thought it might be helpful to post in an unemotional way the basics on the law regarding diplomatic immunity.

Perhaps, though I will not hold my breath, it can assist some ARRSERs who take the time from frothing and keyboard mashing to actually see what the laws on the subject actually are---regardless how any of us may "feel" about them.

Also, for the record and to hopefully avoid any crayoning here about the other thread, I unreservedly condemn the actions of the American woman and think she should be returned to the UK to allow the justice system to run its course.

Here is a primer by the UK Crown Prosecution Service for your edification:


Also here is an older article (excuse the DM offering but perhaps the photo of the Russian girl will soothe ruffled feathers at the source and I of course welcome anyone who can find a better source for the events described or that refutes the facts asserted in the article) about a British diplomat having a car accident involving a russian pedestrian where diplomatic immunity was apparently asserted.

And here is a thread in ARRSE about it. Even discounting for the fact KGB_Resident posted it and its relative brevity, it is telling (and may I say, "ironic"), especially in the context of the recent hyperbolic thread about the American woman and diplomatic immunity, that no ARRSER appears to post outrage that the UK apparently did not waive diplomatic immunity of its man in Moscow.


Criticism of the actions of one US citizen is not a bashing America fest ; it's not frothing or keyboard smashing, it's a sense of outrage at the action of one US citizen who killed a Brit and departed PDQ.

You really are far too delicate in this regard.
 
Of course I recognise that this subject just happened to be worthy of discussion and was not prompted by anything which is currently in the news in England, however, I do feel that some members of arrse may not realise this and tolerance should be shown.
I have no banning powers. Merely asking politely.
 
Also here is an older article (excuse the DM offering but perhaps the photo of the Russian girl will soothe ruffled feathers at the source and I of course welcome anyone who can find a better source for the events described or that refutes the facts asserted in the article) about a British diplomat having a car accident involving a russian pedestrian where diplomatic immunity was apparently asserted.

And here is a thread in ARRSE about it. Even discounting for the fact KGB_Resident posted it and its relative brevity, it is telling (and may I say, "ironic"), especially in the context of the recent hyperbolic thread about the American woman and diplomatic immunity, that no ARRSER appears to post outrage that the UK apparently did not waive diplomatic immunity of its man in Moscow.


The Brit was involved in an RTA, nobody died and I can't see that he fled the country after having promised to stay?
 
So two pages of "heated debate" can be boiled down to "Send the bloody woman back to answer the summons, dammit."

Good - that's settled, then. If they're quick they should be able to get her on tonight's flight; gets into LHR circa 0700BST. Cressida's finest will be there to greet her with warm smiles and cold bracelets. Northants plain clothes will pick her from Paddington Green just as soon as they can get through the morning rush on the North Circular.

All flippancy aside, in a just and conscionable world she'd have never attempted to evade justice and, if as she did, she were to attempt it the authorities on her side of the pond would send her straight back as soon as Priti got off of the 'phone with Pompeo, without waiting for an extradition request.

But we operate under the seemingly loaded-one-way US-UK extradition treaty and we can apparently go whistle for it.

Which are points all thrashed out in the original thread. Did that possibly divert because all the sensible on-topic arguments had played out, perhaps...?
Ideally, but I realize this is ARRSE after all, this thread was intended to politely and respectfully discuss if need be the doctrine of diplomatic immunity in general since other threads have suggested an (appalling?) lack of understanding among some posters, notwithstanding their vociferous posts, of what it actually is and how it functions.
 

Oyibo

LE
@rockpile Nothing to do with this thread (apologies all) but did you serve on the Rockpile? I visited it a few years ago.
 

Oyibo

LE
Ideally, but I realize this is ARRSE after all, this thread was intended to politely and respectfully discuss if need be the doctrine of diplomatic immunity in general since other threads have suggested an (appalling?) lack of understanding among some posters, notwithstanding their vociferous posts, of what it actually is and how it functions.
I think (some may dispute that claim) that there are very good reasons for diplomatic immunity if they are applied in the right circumstances. I have worked overseas for many a year and known dependents with diplomatic (UK) passports who have been diplomatic nightmares. The most recent was when leaving Kinshasa with one two weeks ago.

On the other hand, I do believe that people who work for foreign governments, and their families, should have some protection to allow diplomacy to continue.

IMO both the UK and the US have acted correctly so far in the case of the RTA. I do not believe that diplomatic immunity rules should be changed because of one recent case in the UK - If they were changed people in some seriously shitty countries could be put at great risk. One only has to look at the countries that do not respect diplomatic immunity when it suits them.
 
None of the articles in the news media really make clear whether the lady in question is a diplomat or dependent which would bring the issue within the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention or a consular officer or dependent which would bring the issue under the terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention. In addition, the United States is one of the states which has a bilateral Consular Convention with the UK which goes beyond the terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention. I am not sure what the terms of the bilateral convention are.
Does anyone on here know what the lady's actual status (diplomatic/consular and agent/dependent) is?
The press seems to throw the term "Diplomatic" around in a loose manner. A bit like referring to any vehicle painted green as a "tank"
Another issue not discussed so far is whether she was registered with the FCO as an agent or dependent.
All of us are debating this in the dark.
 
Seems to me the bone of contention, not just with the current case but historically, is this bit:

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 (VCCR) oblige members of a diplomatic mission and their families to respect the laws and regulations of the host country (Article 41 of the VCDR; Article 55 of the VCCR).

mainly because there are many documented cases where it has been actively ignored and the DI is used as an excuse to flout the laws of the host country.

Admittedly this tends to be low-level irritating stuff, such as ignoring parking regulations, but is nevertheless indicative of a willingness by some to abuse the convention.

And then there are the few (such as the current case) where DI would appear to have been used to avoid taking personal responsibility for serious errors of judgement that involved lives being lost.

The immunity to criminal prosecution for diplomatic staff and their dependents is reasonable and obvious, but using DI as an excuse to ignore the host countries laws and regulations brings the whole convention into disrepute and creates ill-will.

Is it time the whole convention was reviewed?

It is over fifty years old after all, and the diplomatic environment, if nothing else, has changed immeasurably since then.

[snip] I must say, having been away for a while, the difference is stark to me from my previous experience where jibes about America/Americans were frequent but in apparent good fun and the occasional substantive criticism was usually well-intended and appropriately constrained in terms of generalizing and nastiness.

Upon my return, however, the difference is the viciousness in tone and sweeping over-generalizations of the America/American slagging as well as the context of many of these posts that is clearly not to engender or further rational discussion but to "score points" or inflict damage in the nature of snarky ad hominems and inflammatory accusations.
Slight thread drift, but for what it’s worth I don’t think there is any greater or lesser anti-American sentiment than there’s always been in the U.K. (Vietnam and Greenham Common are two points in time when I would suggest anti-American sentiment was pretty high).

Rather I think you’re observing the general decline in civil discourse that’s arrived on the back of social media.

In the past an individual would be making an assertion in person and could be challenged, with the conversation following societal rules, but now assertions are made digitally with others coalescing around and amplifying the sentiments.

The result is a social media echo-chamber with everybody shouting vitriol, as even seen on this forum.

I don’t think it for the most part reflects the sentiments of world outside, but the manner of social discourse in the real world has definitely deteriorated as a result.

 
Seems to me the bone of contention, not just with the current case but historically, is this bit:

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 (VCCR) oblige members of a diplomatic mission and their families to respect the laws and regulations of the host country (Article 41 of the VCDR; Article 55 of the VCCR).

mainly because there are many documented cases where it has been actively ignored and the DI is used as an excuse to flout the laws of the host country.

Admittedly this tends to be low-level irritating stuff, such as ignoring parking regulations, but is nevertheless indicative of a willingness by some to abuse the convention.

And then there are the few (such as the current case) where DI would appear to have been used to avoid taking personal responsibility for serious errors of judgement that involved lives being lost.

The immunity to criminal prosecution for diplomatic staff and their dependents is reasonable and obvious, but using DI as an excuse to ignore the host countries laws and regulations brings the whole convention into disrepute and creates ill-will.

Is it time the whole convention was reviewed?

It is over fifty years old after all, and the diplomatic environment, if nothing else, has changed immeasurably since then.



Slight thread drift, but for what it’s worth I don’t think there is any greater or lesser anti-American sentiment than there’s always been in the U.K. (Vietnam and Greenham Common are two points in time when I would suggest anti-American sentiment was pretty high).

Rather I think you’re observing the general decline in civil discourse that’s arrived on the back of social media.

In the past an individual would be making an assertion in person and could be challenged, with the conversation following societal rules, but now assertions are made digitally with others coalescing around and amplifying the sentiments.

The result is a social media echo-chamber with everybody shouting vitriol, as even seen on this forum.

I don’t think it for the most part reflects the sentiments of world outside, but the manner of social discourse in the real world has definitely deteriorated as a result.
Thoughtful post. Thanks.
 

Oyibo

LE
None of the articles in the news media really make clear whether the lady in question is a diplomat or dependent which would bring the issue within the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention or a consular officer or dependent which would bring the issue under the terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention. In addition, the United States is one of the states which has a bilateral Consular Convention with the UK which goes beyond the terms of the 1963 Vienna Convention. I am not sure what the terms of the bilateral convention are.
Does anyone on here know what the lady's actual status (diplomatic/consular and agent/dependent) is?
The press seems to throw the term "Diplomatic" around in a loose manner. A bit like referring to any vehicle painted green as a "tank"
Another issue not discussed so far is whether she was registered with the FCO as an agent or dependent.
All of us are debating this in the dark.
Dependents get diplomatic passports.
 

BlackDyke

Old-Salt
I have gone OT and the OP has requested that we stay OT so I won't be replying after this one.

It has been mentioned loads (and I do mean loads) of times that she was probably ordered home by either her or her husbands CoC.
Are you an ex serviceperson?
You do know what an order is don't you?
 
I have gone OT and the OP has requested that we stay OT so I won't be replying after this one.

It has been mentioned loads (and I do mean loads) of times that she was probably ordered home by either her or her husbands CoC.
Are you an ex serviceperson?
You do know what an order is don't you?
I also know what a d*ck is.
Have you the honour of service?
 

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