Diplomatic Immunity To Avoid Criminal Charges:
After she allegedly hit two staff members at a boutique in Seoul last month, the wife of Belgium’s ambassador to South Korea will now be exercising her diplomatic immunity to avoid criminal charges.
- Diplomatic immunity is a privilege of exemption from certain laws and taxes granted to diplomats by the country in which they are posted.
- The custom was formed so that diplomats can function without fear, threat, or intimidation from the host country.
- Diplomatic immunity is granted on the basis of two conventions, popularly called the Vienna Conventions — the Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, and the Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.
- They have been ratified by 187 countries, including South Korea, which means, it is a law under that country’s legal framework and cannot be violated
- According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, the immunity enjoyed by a diplomat posted in the embassy is “inviolable”. The diplomat cannot be arrested or detained and his house will have the same inviolability and protection as the embassy.
- It is possible for the diplomat’s home country to waive immunity but this can happen only when the individual has committed a ‘serious crime’, unconnected with their diplomatic role or has witnessed such a crime.
- Alternatively, the home country may prosecute the individual.