A CRITIQUE OF DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW

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ABSTRACT


Diplomatic immunity is one of the oldest elements of foreign relations, dating back as far as
ancient Greece and Rome. Today it is a principle that has been codified into the Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations regulating past customs and practices of Diplomats. This
convention has been influenced by three theories during different eras namely: personal
representation, Exterritorility and functional necessity. The Vienna convention on Diplomatic
relations further provides certain immunities to different levels of diplomatic officials, their staff
and families. In view of this, the research critically analysed deterrent measurse provided by the
Vienna convention to assess the inadequaecies occationed by these measures to victims of
diplomatic misconduct. the problem of the research is the continued abuse of these immunities by
the Diplomats and these abuses could have direct consequences both for Diplomats, sending
states, receiving state and the victim. Although the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relation
provides remedies against diplomats, staff and families who abuse their position. But, that is not
enough to cut abuses? Therefore, since there are many literatures on the above subject matter,
the research methodology adopted was basically doctrinal. That is, use of standard books on the
subject, journals, articles, internet, and relevant laws are the sources of information relied upon.
The findings of the writer are (a) The deterrent measures provided by the Vienna convention
were outdated and therefore ineffective. As a result, diplomats continue to abuse their immunity
and occasioned grave injustice to the victims. (b) The convention did not provide means of
settlement of individuals who were injured as a result of diplomatic misconduct. (c) Commissions
of civil wrong by diplomatic official were not serious as criminal offences. In this regard, the
writer finally concluded by recommending that (a) Criminal Immunity of a diplomat should be
removed completely, so that where a diplomat commit any of the following crimes should be
punished in the receiving state where such crime was committed. for example, murder, rape,
smuggling of weapons, explosives, human beings, hard drugs and other heinous crimes. (b)
Expansion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Jurisdiction on Diplomatic Criminal
offences committed by diplomat, staff and their families. (c) Immunity from civil wrong be
accorded to diplomats.

 
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