In today’s world, the importance of diplomatic immunity has increased a lot. It is a common belief that foreign diplomats, their staff and immediate family members cannot come under the local laws and conditions, which in reality, is quite untrue. In this article, we are trying to explain the meaning of diplomatic immunity and its importance.
What is the meaning diplomatic Immunity?
Diplomatic immunity is a kind of legal protection and protection, followed by the governments to ensure the safety and security of foreign diplomats while giving them a sound system to work in the foreign soil. Under this immunity, a foreign diplomat cannot be punished or arrested under the local laws and order. Further, diplomats cannot be prosecuted or susceptible to lawsuits in the host country.
The concept of diplomatic immunity was agreed under the Vienna Convention in 1961 as the international laws. Generally, it is believed that diplomatic immunity encompasses a diplomat from every odd but in reality it is quite different. In fact, only certain foreign diplomats are liable for such immunity services. It is more of a courtesy or customary law extended to foreign diplomats to work freely in any foreign land.
Every country has a definite policy clearly mentioned in her policy manuals. Under this system, not every foreign official or staff member can enjoy full diplomatic immunity. However, a recognized foreign diplomat and his or her immediate family is entitled to full immunity, although even diplomats can receive traffic tickets.
Also, administrators and technical personnel working closely with a foreign diplomat are included under diplomatic immunity, but service staff members may not have any legal protection.
For officer and staff working at the consular level, protections under the rules of diplomatic immunity are very few unlike diplomatic personnel and staff. Diplomats and consulate officers cannot be forced to act as a witness in court concerning any official acts, but consular officers can be testify as witnesses.
In practice, diplomats respect the laws of the countries they work. It means, in case they (diplomat or his family member) involve in a crime, the concerned country can declare the offender persona non grata, which means he or she is not welcomed anymore in the country.
To protect the rights of diplomats further, countries issue diplomatic passport or second passport. Under this passport, diplomats enjoy exclusive treatments and special rights in foreign soil.
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