Sovereign & Diplomatic Immunity

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I prepared this PowerPoint presentation with my Pupillage Group for the Garland R. Walker American Inn of Court CLE (continuing legal education) dinner/lecture in November 2009 on Sovereign and Diplomatic Immunity.

Copyright. For educational use only. Credit me by name and the GWIOC with any permissible use.

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Sovereign & Diplomatic Immunity

  1. 1. GARLAND R. WALKER AMERICAN INN OF COURT Pupillage Group 2 Sovereign and Diplomatic Immunity Tuesday November 10, 2009
  2. 2. Sovereign Immunity
  3. 3. Sovereign Immunity <ul><li>Article III, § 2 of the Constitution The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution. . . to Controversies . . . between a State and Citizens of another State . . . and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens, or Subjects. </li></ul><ul><li>Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State. </li></ul>
  4. 4. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Introduction And History
  5. 5. Diplomatic Immunity in the Media
  6. 6. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY The 1961 Convention and the Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978
  7. 7. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Who is Immune, and for What Deeds?
  8. 8. Vienna Conference (“the Conference”) of Diplomatic Relations <ul><li>Followed various attempts to codify diplomatic immunities and privileges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1815: Vienna </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1927: League of Nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1928: Havana Convention </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The outcome of World War II fostered a desire for codification </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Conference <ul><li>Cold War Impact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yugoslavian push </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>East v. West tensions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Selection of Vienna </li></ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neutrality </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Conference Highlights <ul><li>Controversial Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless transmitters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diplomatic bag </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Differing State practices </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Key Provisions <ul><li>Article 22 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bars entry of receiving state law enforcement officials & imposes duty on receiving state to protect mission premises </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 24 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensures inviolability of archives & documents, even outside mission premises </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 27 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guarantees free communication between mission & its sending State </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Key Provisions (continued) <ul><li>Article 29 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides for inviolability of diplomats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 31 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishes immunity from civil and criminal jurisdiction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 32 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishes rules for waiver by sending state of immunities/privileges </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Key Provisions (continued) <ul><li>Article 34 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sets out tax exemptions accorded diplomats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 36 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides exemptions from customs duties on diplomatic imports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Article 37 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishes code for treatment of families and junior staff of mission </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978 <ul><li>Delayed codification in U.S. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice Department’s conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>President Jimmy Carter’s remarks </li></ul>
  15. 15. “ Gap-fillers” to the Vienna Act <ul><li>Requirement that foreign diplomats carry automobile liability </li></ul><ul><li>Allowance of “direct action” against insurance carrier </li></ul>
  16. 16. Levels of Immunity <ul><li>Higher rank = greater immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal prosecution & civil lawsuits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lower rank = protection only for actions done within scope of official duties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Testifying in court regarding actions of co-workers </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Application of the 1961 Convention
  18. 18. Abuse Of Domestic Helpers July 2008 GAO report: 42 cases of abuse by diplomats over 8 years but said that the actual number was probably higher!
  19. 19. Others That Got Away… <ul><li>Diplomats who didn’t pay parking tickets </li></ul><ul><li>Rapists </li></ul><ul><li>Child Molesters </li></ul>
  20. 20. What Can Be Done??? <ul><li>Foreign government may waive Diplomatic Immunity </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign government may prosecute the diplomat in the home state </li></ul><ul><li>Liability insurance </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals may stop providing services </li></ul><ul><li>Victim compensation funds </li></ul>
  21. 21. Test Your Knowledge On: <ul><li>Diplomatic Immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>According to the United States Department of State practice and guidelines . . . . </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Diplomatic Immunity Quiz – U.S. Practice <ul><li>The British Ambassador goes for a drive around D.C. with her 15-year-old daughter, and lets her daughter drive. The daughter runs a red light doing 90 miles an hour, and is stopped by Police. </li></ul>Q: Is the daughter immune from arrest?
  23. 23. Diplomatic Immunity Quiz – U.S. Practice <ul><li>The British Ambassador goes for a drive around D.C. with her 15-year-old daughter, and lets her daughter drive. The daughter runs a red light doing 90 miles an hour, and is stopped by Police. </li></ul>Q: Is the daughter immune from criminal prosecution?
  24. 24. Diplomatic Immunity Quiz – U.S. Practice <ul><li>The British Ambassador and her daughter go for a drive around D.C. The vehicle is driven by the Embassy’s official chauffeur . The chauffeur runs a red light doing 90 miles an hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Q: Is the chauffeur immune from prosecution? </li></ul>
  25. 25. Diplomatic Immunity Quiz – U.S. Practice <ul><li>The British Ambassador and her daughter go for a drive around D.C. The vehicle is driven by the Embassy’s official chauffeur . The chauffeur runs a red light doing 90 miles an hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Q: In the chauffeur ’s prosecution, can the Ambassador be subpoenaed to give evidence? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Diplomatic Immunity Quiz – U.S. Practice <ul><li>The British Ambassador to the U.S. brings his 18-year-old son to the U.S. to attend college. The Police believe that the son’s college apartment holds evidence of a drug smuggling cartel. </li></ul><ul><li>Q: Can the Police obtain a search warrant and search the apartment? </li></ul>

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