What are the immediate limitations of diplomatic immunity?

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The Politicus
Jul 24, 2021 05:09 PM 0 Answers
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Note: after writing the question, I found a very similar one covering some of my questions. I crossed them out below, some others are still open.

When discussing with my son about some diplomatic incidents (and worse), he asked me how far someone protected by diplomatic immunity can go. I will rephrase his question as "are there limits to diplomatic immunity immediately after an event?".

By this, I mean incapacitated after having shown evidence for his diplomatic immunity, confirmed by the forces wanting to arrest him.

We had a few typical cases ("they" means the holder of diplomatic immunity:

  • they steal something in a shop and put it aside when confronted, then leave
  • they steal something in a shop and attempt to leave with the stolen good
  • they hit someone (see this question)
  • they kill someone (see this question)
  • they drive in a car with people suspected of crime
  • they drive in a car with people that did commit a crime and are wanted by the local authorities

What I am interested in is the immediate consequences - in other words, whether they can be stopped on the spot (beyond the time needed to confirm their status). I know that there are diplomatic ways to follow up, but this is done independently of the person (not) being arrested.

This question was partly triggered by the ~2 years old case of the wife of a US diplomat who killed a boy with her car in the UK, claimed diplomatic immunity and fled to the US.

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  • July 24, 2021