A CRITIQUE OF DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
Diplomatic immunity is one of the oldest elements of foreign relations, dating back as far as ancient Greece and Rome. Today it is a principle that has been codified into the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations regulating past customs and practices of Diplomats. This convention has been influenced by three theories during different eras namely: personal representation, Exterritorility and functional necessity. The Vienna convention on Diplomatic relations further provides certain immunities to different levels of diplomatic officials, their staff and families. In view of this, the research critically analysed deterrent measurse provided by the Vienna convention to assess the inadequaecies occationed by these measures to victims of diplomatic misconduct. the problem of the research is the continued abuse of these immunities by the Diplomats and these abuses could have direct consequences both for Diplomats, sending states, receiving state and the victim. Although the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relation provides remedies against diplomats, staff and families who abuse their position. But, that is not enough to cut abuses? Therefore, since there are many literatures on the above subject matter, the research methodology adopted was basically doctrinal. That is, use of standard books on the subject, journals, articles, internet, and relevant laws are the sources of information relied upon. The findings of the writer are (a) The deterrent measures provided by the Vienna convention were outdated and therefore ineffective. As a result, diplomats continue to abuse their immunity and occasioned grave injustice to the victims. (b) The convention did not provide means of settlement of individuals who were injured as a result of diplomatic misconduct. (c) Commissions of civil wrong by diplomatic official were not serious as criminal offences. In this regard, the writer finally concluded by recommending that (a) Criminal Immunity of a diplomat should be removed completely, so that where a diplomat commit any of the following crimes should be punished in the receiving state where such crime was committed. for example, murder, rape, smuggling of weapons, explosives, human beings, hard drugs and other heinous crimes. (b) Expansion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Jurisdiction on Diplomatic Criminal offences committed by diplomat, staff and their families. (c) Immunity from civil wrong be accorded to diplomats.