What is diplomatic immunity and who has it?

What is diplomatic immunity and who has it?
What is diplomatic immunity and who has it?

The concept of "diplomatic immunity" is complex, as countries understand it differently. And there were examples in history. It's pretty easy to define it, but explaining how it works is harder. But let's take a look at who is given the right of diplomatic immunity, what it means.

Historical Background

Perhaps it's best to take a hypothetical example. Even the ancient peoples had their own ethical standards. It was not customary to offend strangers who arrived with a mission to the ruler. The world was gradually changing, there were more and more players in the international arena, this led to an increase in the number of problems and incidents. Representative functions abroad are performed by special civil servants - diplomats. These are not just citizens, but part of the country that sent them. To kill or injure a representative means to offend the state. That is, the status of a diplomat is high.

diplomatic immunity

In order for countries not to fall into a “casus belli” situation and not think about whether toalready war or wait, the international community had to agree on how to protect these representatives. Special documents were adopted, that is, a legal framework was created. This is how the concept of “diplomatic immunity” arose. It means non-subordination of a foreign civil servant to the legislation of the host country. However, the decoding of the term is much more complicated and is constantly supplemented by practice.

What is diplomatic immunity

Under the concept under consideration, it is customary to mean a set of rules relating to official representatives of other countries. That is, diplomatic immunity (immunity) is absolute security:

  • personality;
  • residential and office space;
  • property;
  • no jurisdiction;
  • exemption from inspections and taxation.
right of diplomatic immunity

The word "official" is extremely important in our definition. That is, the immunity rules apply only to persons whose powers are confirmed by special documents.

Legal basis

The most famous document that describes diplomatic immunity is the Vienna Convention. She was accepted in 1961. This is an agreement between countries that defines the rules and norms for diplomats - official representatives of states. It regulates the procedures by which relations are established and terminated between countries. In addition, the convention contains a list of functions of diplomaticrepresentative offices, explains how they are granted accreditation, and resolves other issues.

problems of inviolability of diplomatic representation

The amount of immunity for diplomats is also described in this document. Usually, the parties develop an attitude towards diplomats on a reciprocal basis, that is, they act symmetrically. In the international arena, immunity is confirmed by a diplomatic passport. This is a special type of document that is issued to an official representing the state. It is used in the process of relations with the authorities of the host country. Presenting it releases the holder from the usual duties of foreigners, such as customs clearance.

Problems of inviolability of diplomatic missions

In international relations, there have been many cases where the immunity of foreigners was neglected. The example of Pinochet, the former president of Chile, is considered a classic. This man went to the UK for treatment. For the duration of the trip, he had the status of a senator of his country for life. Such persons are generally immune. But Pinochet was arrested in the host country. Officials did not react to the presentation of a diplomatic passport. The former president was subjected to a judicial procedure, during which a medical examination was also carried out.

persons with diplomatic immunity

But under the treaty, persons with diplomatic immunity are not subject to the laws of a foreign state. That is, there was an incidentrequiring clarification. English lawyers, of course, found justification for the actions of the authorities. They argued that only those persons who have an assignment from their state have immunity. Pinochet did not have an official accreditation confirming the existence of a mission. The Chilean government also failed to provide documents that sent him to the UK. Despite protests, the former president and incumbent senator were not released.


Diplomatic immunity is a relative thing. If necessary, some states do not disdain the violation of generally accepted rules. They come up with excuses for themselves, not at all caring about the fate of people or moral standards. Here we can talk about the right of the strong. There are also cases of violence against diplomats in non-democratic countries - the murder of the US ambassador in Libya, for example. Each incident is de alt with separately between the parties involved in the conflict. That is, governments are trying to avoid open military clashes, to which such incidents have led since past centuries.

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