Diplomatic immunity : an argument for re-evaluation.
Diplomacy is an ancient concept known to man as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans. Through the passing of time the concept of diplomacy has continuously been developed. The evolution of this concept has followed with the great civilisations of this world. Most notable are the advancements in Europe from the medieval era to the industrial revolution. Diplomacy was first codified in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. The 1961 Vienna Convention currently regulates the immunities and privileges of the modern diplomat. The immunities range from official acts to the conducting of personal affairs. These immunities protect the diplomat from the foreign state. The extent of these immunities has led to a range of abusive behaviour resulting in controversy. This dissertation sets out a brief historic overview of diplomacy and theories dealing with the discourse of immunities in light of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. A closer look is taken on the privileges and immunities a diplomat enjoys in his personal capacity, his property and his family. Furthermore the development of diplomacy in England and South Africa are discussed. Lastly the Vienna Convention sets out a number of remedies that are able to deter diplomatic agents from abusing their station. However, such remedies alone have proved to be inefficient without the immunities being limited in order to make diplomats accountable for their misconduct. In light of the severity of misconduct by diplomats, a suggestion has been offered for such privileges to be curtailed in order for diplomats to be held accountable for severe crimes committed. As it stands now, diplomats escape liability for heinous crimes such as rape, murder and human trafficking. It is submitted that a re-evaluation of the principles is required.