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To think diplomatic immunity should not exist

(27 Posts)
ReallyTired Mon 03-Oct-16 07:12:14

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3818232/Saudi-princess-fled-Paris-instructing-bodyguard-kill-decorator-named-hitman-arrested.html?ito=social-facebook

Foreign diplomats or princesses should face jail if they are convicted of serious offences like murder or kidnap. I would like the civilised world to take a stance against such behaviour. It's not acceptable for a princess to order the murder of anyone. (Even if the body guard does not carry out the order and just beats up the person.)

scaryteacher Mon 03-Oct-16 07:17:34

It protects our diplomats and their families in foreign postings though, especially in volatile and unstable countries. When we had diplomatic status, the ambassador was clear that we had to abide by the laws of the land, and not abuse the privilege, so some of us do play by the rules!

Yes, some misuse it, but should that then mean that those who have it because they are posted abroad by their country should lose its protection?

I fail to see why she had Diplomatic status in the first place, but that's down to the French and their relationship with Saudi.

ReallyTired Mon 03-Oct-16 07:19:42

It should not be an option to fly back to home land and not stand trial. Even if the princess and her body guard are found to be innocent later they should give evidence in court.

tofutti Mon 03-Oct-16 07:23:25

I would like the civilised world to take a stance against such behaviour.

Mahatma Gandhi, on being asked, "What do you think of Western civilization?," was reported to have answered, "I think it would be a good idea”.

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 07:25:19

I think it needs looking at rather than abolishing. There is a problem with the Saudis because they have such an extensive Royal family that it applies to hundreds if not thousands of people, most of whom are here as tourists rather than engaged in state business. It should be curtailed just to cover those who are here in a capacity where they act on behalf of the state. Plus low level offences like parking tickets, speeding, talking on your mobile in the car should probably be exempted.

There's another case where a servant from a Saudi family has gone missing in Hove which I think is going to open a can of worms. It's likely that we effectively have legal slavery going on because people can't be prosecuted. I really hope the lady concerned is found safe.

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 07:30:26

Mahatma Gandhi, on being asked, "What do you think of Western civilization?," was reported to have answered, "I think it would be a good idea”.

Yes, well the notoriously misogynistic Gandhi might well have approved of the treatment of women in places like Saudi but most of the rest of us do not. He did undermine the caste system though, so I doubt that he would support the Saudi's exploitation of servants and workers.

Our civilisation may not be perfect but it's the best that we have.

Zikreetdreaming Mon 03-Oct-16 07:35:04

I didn't think it was the case that every Saudi royal automatically has diplomatic immunity. As a previous poster has said there are a lot of them!

Diplomatic immunity is a very important concept but it should apply to those conducting official business for their country only, not just someone who happens to have the title 'Princess'.

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 07:56:42

I've looked it up and apparently it is sovereign, rather than diplomatic immunity Saudi royals claim which applies to Royalty so yes, it is something Saudi royals can claim.

It's not always granted though, a Saudi prince was convicted for killing his male servant and it was shown not to apply in that case. However that case involved gay sex. Had it not, it's more doubtful the Saudis would have tolerated it not applying.

Zikreetdreaming Mon 03-Oct-16 09:23:21

Interesting. Google tells me sovereign immunity in the UK only applies to the Queen.

ReallyTired Mon 03-Oct-16 09:25:24

"I've looked it up and apparently it is sovereign, rather than diplomatic immunity Saudi royals claim which applies to Royalty so yes, it is something Saudi royals can claim."

That is a complete disconnect that in the uk the Magna Carta means that that the King is not above the law, yet a sovereign immunity means that hundreds of the Saudi Royal family are excempt. I can see a case for dipomatic immunity, but it should not apply in this case. I don't know if France has the equivalent of the Magna Carta because they had the French Revolution.

I would like to see an international court set up to look at cases where diplomats or royals infringe the law in a really major way. I don't mean parking fines, but really serious offences. I suppose the issue is deciding what consitutes a serious offence. The Saudis might argue that using pages of the koran to wipe your bum is more serious than murder. I think that countries would have to decide what allegations should not have complete dipomatic immunity, who should judge and sentence the criminal.

Hereward1332 Mon 03-Oct-16 09:27:36

It's not necessarily a get of of jail free card. A government can waive its diplomat's immunity if it wants. It's the Saudi government in this case, not the concept that's at fault.

Humidseptember Mon 03-Oct-16 09:28:45

I fail to see why she had Diplomatic status in the first place, but that's down to the French and their relationship with Saudi

Me too.

Extraordinary case. Awful.

She should never have been allowed to flee. And needs to be held to account. Or are we saying France laws only apply to the serfs confused No Longer, Liberty , Fraternity and EGALITY?

Humidseptember Mon 03-Oct-16 09:30:10

The Saudis might argue that using pages of the koran to wipe your bum is more serious than murder.

^^ Indeed.

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 09:36:31

No, we've had the principle of sovereign immunity for foreign royalty/diplomats since 1648.

There are two senses of sovereign immunity and you are looking up the wrong one. Our sovereign can't be prosecuted and is the only U.K. citizen that specific law applies to. But sovereign immunity can apply to diplomats and royals from other countries too under separate laws and Saudi royals have applied for it, including the case I referred to.

Humidseptember Mon 03-Oct-16 09:39:50

Surely Royals mean people who live on the same cultural liberal level as us though?

Abiding mostly by the same standards? How can we liberal nations apply it to peoples who are barbaric. Ie - hanging people by the road side, making women cover up and chopping body parts off in public squares like the middle ages?

Imagine the out rage if this was someone from Aparthied Africa committing this crime and being offered immunity?

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 09:40:13

That is a complete disconnect that in the uk the Magna Carta means that that the King is not above the law

We have broken that too! As an earlier poster said, the Queen is immune from prosecution, she can't even be called as a witness. That was why the Paul Burrell case collapsed, because she said he had told her he was taking some of Diana's belongings but she couldn't be called to court so the whole thing was scrapped.

tofutti Mon 03-Oct-16 09:45:20

OP, why would you post so offensively about the Koran? I now seriously question your motives for starting this thread.

TheNaze73 Mon 03-Oct-16 09:54:12

Where are you going with this OP?

Zikreetdreaming Mon 03-Oct-16 10:03:09

Is sovereign immunity to English prosecution a matter of international law or English law? (I appreciate this actual case is France but I'm interested in the principal). If English law, it should be a case of 'well our princesses don't get immunity so yours won't either' in my view (although I appreciate that this may require a change in law that the government has no appetite for given it would primarily impact Saudi).

Sovereign immunity also generally doesn't apply to commercial acts and it would seen sensible to extend that to acts committed in a personal (non-State) capacity too.

Diplomatic immunity usually only applies to a very small number of people and isn't such an issue, although it can be open to abuse. There was a recent case where a Saudi (non-Royal) businessman tried to claim diplomatic immunity in a divorce case by virtue of (very recently) holding a minor diplomatic post and the courts decided it wasn't a real office. FCO doesn't appear to have been too keen on that decision though as they say it's up to them who's a diplomat not the courts.

Zikreetdreaming Mon 03-Oct-16 10:03:57

*principle

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 03-Oct-16 10:09:07

Why was the comment that mentioned the koran offensive (genuine question)? OP didn't say that she planned to disrespect it or that it was okay for others to do so. She was pointing out that in the UK, murder would be worse than doing something that desecrates religion (so in that case, murder is still worse than vandalizing a christian church), using extremes as an example of how different cultures have different beliefs about what is truly wrong.

KatieScarlett Mon 03-Oct-16 10:12:48

It's absolutely ridiculous. Sovereign?
So by accident of birth you are above the law?
Everyone should be treated exactly the same. The whole premise is outdated and ridiculous.

BillSykesDog Mon 03-Oct-16 10:15:46

Zikreet, that case was dodgy as fuck though. He claimed diplomatic immunity for the island of St Lucia, not SA, and it was generally considered he had been given the title in return for bungs specifically to avoid prosecution.

LurkingHusband Mon 03-Oct-16 10:31:15

It's worth remembering that diplomatic immunity allowed the killers of Yvonne Fletcher to walk free.

The UK changed the law afterwards to reserve the right to enter diplomatic premises in certain circumstances (one wonders if Julian Assange knows this ?)

Humidseptember Mon 03-Oct-16 10:31:25

She was pointing out that in the UK, murder would be worse than doing something that desecrates religion (so in that case, murder is still worse than vandalizing a christian church), using extremes as an example of how different cultures have different beliefs about what is truly wrong

Yes this is what I read into ops comments too and its true isnt it?

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