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Report Thread starter 4 years ago
Can an Ambassador for a state party to the 1961 VCDR, after taking up their place in another country and establishing a doctors practice in that country (as they are qualified) be sued in civil national court after killing a person through negligence? Initially I thought they would be automatically immune but I'm starting to second guess myself because owning the practice was outside of their "duties", am I right?
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Report 4 years ago
I am neither a specialist in the area, nor have I actually studied it; however, I did take an interest in it a while back so my answer is as follows, but by no means wholly correct:

Under the VCDR 1961, those who enjoy full diplomatic immunity, a category which includes ambassadors and secretaries in foreign embassies, are exempt from all prosecutions in the countries within which they are residing, or at least those who are party to the Convention. Thus, in the above case, I think the doctor would be exempt from prosecution entirely. Lower-ranking officials, however, only enjoy functional immunity meaning they can be prosecuted if they are acting outside their duties as a diplomat. If the doctor was found to be in such a category, it follows that he could typically be tried and potentially convicted.

It would be likely, in the above circumstances, that the home country would waive his immunity due to the severity of the crime of which is he being accused coupled with the fact that he was wholly working outside of his duties when the incident occurred. As is understandable, there has been a lot of criticism, but it has always been agreed that a country would treat diplomatic officials as it would like theirs to be treated if the scenario were reversed.

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