Diplomatic Immunity

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Diplomatic Immunity Trumps Children’s Rights, the English High Court Reluctantly Concludes: A Comment on A Local Authority v AG [2020] EWFC 18

This case concerned proceedings brought by a local authority to protect three children, specifically seeking a care order under Part IV of the Children Act 1989. There were credible allegations that the children had been physically abused by both their parents. On the evidence before him, Mostyn J thought it ‘extremely unlikely’ that the parents ‘would be able to defeat an application for an interim care order’, were he to determine that issue. The children’s father, however, was (and, quite possibly, still is) a serving diplomat at his State’s mission in London, and on that basis the parents resisted the Court making any order. Consequently, as Mostyn J stated: This case gives rise to a seemingly irreconcilable clash between two international treaties incorporated into our domestic law by statutes. These are the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, enacted by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, and the 1953 European Convention on Human Rights, enacted by the Human Rights Act 1998. Under Article 31(1) of the 1961 Vienna Convention…

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Functional immunity of foreign State officials in respect of international crimes before the Hague District Court: A regressive interpretation of progressive international law

On 29 January 2020, the District Court of The Hague rendered a possibly momentous judgment that may reverse an international trend to deny functional immunity to State officials in respect of allegations of international crimes. The reader may be aware that the International Law Commission (ILC) has acknowledged this trend in Article 7 of its Draft Articles…

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Inviolability and the Protest at the Bahraini Embassy

This week Channel 4 News broadcast a remarkable story about a dissident who climbed onto the roof of the Bahraini Embassy in London. The man, Moosa Mohammed, was part of a larger group protesting planned executions in Bahrain, executions which have been condemned by human rights organisations. The protest and underlying cause are rightly…

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Callamard Report on the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Part II

In my second post on the report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, I will discuss some of its most interesting legal findings. The key finding, obviously, is that Saudi Arabia is responsible for committing an extrajudicial execution in violation of Mr Khashoggi’s right to life. The Special Rapporteur notes…

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Callamard Report on the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Part I

Last week the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, submitted to the Human Rights Council her long-awaited final report on the investigation she conducted on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In this post I’ll offer a few thoughts on some of the legal and factual findings of this report, which is the result of the only…

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