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Title Page
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Table of Abbreviation
Table of Content

1.1       Background to the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Research
1.4       Significance of the Research
1.5       Scope of the Research
1.6       Research Methodology
1.7       Literature Review
1.8       Organizational Layout

2.1       Introduction
2.2       Meaning and Nature of Diplomatic Immunity
            a.         Personal Representation
            b.         Exterritoriality
            c.         Functional Necessity
2.3       The Development of Diplomatic Immunity in International Practice

3.1       Introduction
3.2       Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961
3.3       Meaning and Nature of International Law
3.4       United Nations International Immunities
3.5       Classification
3.5.1 Appointment of Diplomat
3.5.2 Reception and Termination of Diplomat Function
3.5.3 Staff of the Mission
3.5.4 Family Members of a Diplomat
3.5.5 Diplomatic Mission
3.5.6 Special Mission
3.5.7 Termination of Missions
3.6       A Critique of Deterrent Measures Provided by the Vienna Convention
3.6.1    Persona Non Grata
3.6.2    Waiver of Immunity
3.6.3    Jurisdiction of the Sending State
3.6.4    Reciprocity
3.6.5    Breaking Diplomatic Ties
3.6.6    Settlement of Disputes

4.1       Introduction
4.2.      Limitation to Diplomatic Agents Privileges and Immunities
4.2.1    Personal Inviolability
4.2.2    Immunity from Jurisdiction
4.2.3    Inviolability of Diplomat‟s Residence and Property
4.3       Limitation to Inviolability of Missions
4.4       Limitation to Inviolability of Archives and Documents
4.5       Limitation to Freedom of Communication and the Inviolability of Official Correspondence
4.6       Limitation to Diplomatic Bags and Diplomatic Couriers
4.7       Limitation to Members of Family and Staff Privileges and Immunities
4.7.1    Members of Family
4.7.2    Mission Staff

5.1       Summary
5.2       Findings
5.3       Recommendations


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.



1.1               Background to the Study

The rule of international law governing diplomatic relations were the product of long-established state practice reflected in the legislative provisions and judicial decisions of national law. The law has now been codified to a considerable extent in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Parts of the Convention are based on existing practice and other parts constitute a progressive development of the law. However, as ratifications mount up even the latter portions provide the best evidence of generally acceptable rules. The convention presently has at least 150 parties. The importance of the principles of law is embodied in the case concerning United States v Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran1 and judgment of 24th May 19802. In its judgment on the merits, the court observed that „the obligations of the Iranian Government here in question are not merely contractual –but also obligations under general international law3. In that case, the government of Iran was held responsible for failing to prevent and for subsequently approving the actions of military in invading the United States Mission in Tehran and holding the diplomatic and consular personnel as „hostages‟.

For English courts, the Diplomatic Immunity Act of 1708 was declaratory of the common law. The Act of 1708 has been repealed and replaced by the Diplomatic Principles Act of 19644 which sets out in a schedule those provisions of the convention which are incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom. The same Act replaces Section 1(1) of the Diplomatic Immunities (Commonwealth countries and Republic of Ireland) Act of 1952, which provides for immunity from suit. The Vienna Convention.....

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