Thursday, December 26, 2013

Diplomatic Immunity - 2

Newspapers in India pointed out this out, and it is easy enough to verify.  As per the United Nations Blue Book "Permanent Missions to the United Nations", No. 303, March 2013 available here:, Ms Devyani Uttam Khobragade is an accredited member of the Indian Permanent Mission to the UN - well before her arrest - and per Article 4, Section 11 and Section 16 of "Convention of the Immunities and Privileges of the United Nations", adopted in February 1946, seemingly has immunity from arrest.  (The Indian officials may have already pointed this out to the American officials in private.)

Section 14 of the Convention says that Member States have the duty to waive immunity when "in the opinion of the Member immunity would impede justice". 

Therefore, the proper procedure would have been for the US Departments of Justice and State to take their complaint to the appropriate person (probably either the Indian Ambassador to the UN or to the US) and ask for immunity to be waived.  In any case, the normal courtesy to to tell the highest ranking officials of impending action - a courtesy which was not extended in this case.

Whatever the US DOJ may think of the immunity of consular officers, there is no question about the immunity of the aforemention UN delegations.