Diplomatic Immunity

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The Waiver of Immunity of Catalan MEPs: Reintroducing Politics in EU Extradition Law

On 8 March 2021, the European Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Catalan MEPs, Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati. Although this long-lasting saga is far from being over as Puigdemont already announced his intention to bring the case before the CJEU on procedural grounds, this decision would theoretically enable Spanish authorities to resume the European arrest warrants issued for these Catalan leaders in exile. Quite contrary to what happened so far in the case of Catalan exiles, the European arrest warrant was supposed to streamline extraditions among EU Member States through a number of changes to traditional extradition procedures, including their depoliticisation. Depoliticisation of extraditions to ease automatisation As outlined in a previous blogpost, the depoliticisation of extraditions in the EU followed and was partly due to the Garcia Moreno case that took place between Spain and Belgium in the 1990s. The case concerned two Basque separatists who sought refuge in Belgium. The latter refused to extradite them back to Spain, arguing the offences for which they were requested were political.

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Diplomats or fonctionnaires? The Contested Status of the EU’s ‘Embassy’ in the UK

May the European Union have a full diplomacy, on a par with States? This issue has been problematic since 1954, when the European Coal and Steel Community opened its first delegation – in London. Already in 1961, Pescatore wrote that ‘it is clear why the use of the term “diplomatic” to designate the Community’s missions in third…

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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…

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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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