U. S. withdraws from Optional Protocol to Vienna Convention
Vienna convention is a treaty for international relations and contains writs related to diplomatic and consular relations as a part. Before investigating the crucial question of investigation that “Is it the time to revise Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and what provisions need to be changed and why? ” It is really important and equally essential to give a slight look at the basic provisions and areas covered by Vienna convention for diplomatic relations. It is also needed to understand the scenario of international relations of the world generally and diplomatic relations especially before and after the Vienna convention.
This knowledge will be helpful in order to have an unbiased and analytical reasoning combined with logical verification. VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS: Vienna convention on diplomatic relations is a framework of diplomatic and consular relations between different nation states. It was promulgated by international relations commissions and ratified by 170 nations of the world. All the countries those have endorsed the Vienna convention need to obligatory follow the structure of consular relations. “Persons employed in diplomatic missions or consular post enjoys immunity according to their ranks and job requirements. ”(U.
S. Department of State Dispatch, 1993) BACKGROUND: Vienna convention has got prime importance in the field of international relations. It is a basic skeleton of consular rights and diplomatic obligations. Diplomatic and consul officials’ role can be traced back to ancient times when messengers from one tribe travel to other tribes without fear of any harm or injury. The rule of respecting representatives and messengers from any nation is an international tradition. The trace of traditional role of consular officials is confirmed by the fact that Greek colonists and local governments use Greek prostates as their intermediaries.
International law commission recognizes consular role in 1949 and start examining it in 1955. After thorough analyses for many years it was codified into international law in 1961. This treaty came into force in 1980. WRIT: Vienna convention for diplomatic relations conserves diplomats and foreigner right in another country. . According to Vienna Convention Diplomats are immune from local laws of host states. It states that “Diplomatic agents and members of their immediate families are immune from all criminal prosecution and most civil law suits.
” (U. S. Department of State Dispatch, 1993) The writs in Vienna convention for diplomatic relations are as follows and will effect on the repository countries. According to Vienna convention for diplomatic relations the role of treaties in international law is recognized in the light of past experiences and recognizing these treaties as the source of international peace and cooperation between different nations irrespective of the fat that which sort of system and institutional structure these countries follows.
Vienna convention for diplomatic relations also acknowledges the role of free consent and pacta sunt servanda rule universally which states that international treaties once entered into should be upheld by all signatories. Vienna convention also abandoned the use of force in case of any dispute between nations and enforces peaceful conclusions through effective negotiations and peaceful measures. International disputes can also resolve through arbitration by international court for justice.
An international and independent body established to minimize the effect of biasness in disputes between two nations and provide just, accurate and neutral decisions. This convention also defines the means of the establishment of United Nations to create peace, harmony and cooperation among nations and friendly relations between different countries. This convention also affirms the principals of self determination, equal human rights, sovereignty and equality of people and nations. It also enforces no interference of any nation in the domestic affairs of another nation and observance of human rights by any international organization.
It also states that all other questions those are not answered by this convention will be solved considering the rules of customary international relations. ADVANTAGES AND IMPORTANCE OF VIENNA CONVENTION: The advantages of Vienna convention for diplomatic relations are many but few are described over here in detail to provide a comprehensive overview. It provides an environment of freedom, integrity and repository relationship between nations. This treaty safeguards diplomats in countries where judicial system is weak and diplomats are not treated with integrity and respect.
Vienna convention protects diplomats and conveys the message of harmony, peace and repository international relations. They provide good human relations practices by following the high standards of trust and freedom. Vienna convention for diplomatic relations recognizes the importance of treaties among nation. It also affirms the importance of dialogue and peaceful negotiations between nations. Diplomats respect and principles of immunity are enforced in order to show mutual respect and cooperation.
Vienna convention for diplomatic relations and consular relations are enforced to provide facilities to foreigners in legal procedures in another nation. CHALLENGES OF VIENNA CONVENTION FOR DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS: The problem arises when abuse of Vienna convention of diplomatic relations takes place and diplomats and foreign officials start abusing the immunity writ of convention. The most important challenge for Vienna convention for diplomatic relations is the issue of jurisdictions related to offences conducted by diplomats and consular and other exempted officials.
Immunity is taken as an official license for alleging in serious criminal and civil offences. These may include traffic violations like illegal parking, driving after drinking, road accidents etc. If such an incident is occur diplomatic official and his family is not arrested by local officials of host countries. The degree of criminal acts can vary. It even includes rape and drug trafficking issues as well as involvement in terrorist offences like keeping illegal arm & animation, contacts with criminals etc. It is generally considered that diplomats are deprived of any law and they can do any thing they want to do in their posted countries.
Either such criminal acts are conducted intentionally or unintentionally, diplomats are not subject to investigations. This phenomenon creates dissonance among nations and common man. On the other hand whenever a diplomat travels he is not subject to official security checking on airports and he can carry a diplomatic pouch as a diplomatic courier that pass through customs unchecked. This treaty also states that if diplomatic relations is not good among two signatory nations, diplomats will enjoy same privileges and honors.
Incase of any serious offence conducted by foreigners on any other land, local officials are obligatory to report their respective consuls and these consuls have rights to meet provide legal and social basic assistance, and help them appointing lawyers and fighting their case. It is also important to remember that Vienna convention oblige every signatory to accept and respect international court of justice as a supreme authority following the international laws and having arbitrary power incase of any disputes between nations.
Nations can file cases against each other for offences of violation of Vienna convention of diplomatic relations. It is also a point of prime consideration that Vienna convention for diplomatic relations also abandoned any individual or country to interfere in domestic affairs of any nation. And will not provide any room for such offence. All diplomats are obligatory to take care of their host nation laws and privileges offered to them and do not involve in any activities those are designed or focus towards destruction or abuse of host nation property, good will or integrity.
It is often demanded that the writ for pacta sunt servanda and good faith is use by many nations. No country can claim that their internal law is in contradictory with international treaty therefore it will not be implemented. This law clearly obliged all the signatories of any treaty to follow that treaty as it was presumed by authors of that treaty. One of the foremost examples is related to the treaties about environment and its protection between different countries but is not completely followed by them. One of the best examples is about appointment of Irani counselor includes in hostage.
He was refused for appointment by four nations which are against the Vienna Convention. No party in the treaty can step back individually from a treaty. This writ is generally not followed by different nations especially when a slight attempt is made unconsciously. “Objections to reservations do not normally prevent the reserving state from getting what it wants, no matter how outrageous the reservation may be. ”(Consular relations, 2006) This is very important clause and is very difficult to overcome by nations incase of objections.
Vienna convention for diplomatic relations do not suggest any method to resolve those reservations instead of peaceful negotiations those takes long time and generally ended without consensus. The method of observation by international law biding agencies and United Nations must be employed in order to have a critical look at reservations as well as objections. “Nordic practice may not prevent states from benefiting from their reservations. ” (Consular relations, 2006) On the other hand it is also important to consider the present scenario of the world.
Today war against terrorism is a very important issue in different countries of the world US and Britain are joined hand to curb down the forces those are against international peace and principles of human relations. This war against terrorism is an attempt to save the world from the harmful and evil emotions of religious and ideological extremism but with force and power that is against the provisions of Vienna convention which clearly defines that incase of any dispute among an individual and nation or among two different nations of the world.
The use of force is always offended and peaceful means for negotiations are preferred. Vienna convention also does not allow any interference in host nation domestic matters. Vienna convention for diplomatic relations also enforces the rule of law and supremacy of human rights in any severe situation or circumstances. There are many occasions when different nations violate the conventions of treaty and Vienna convention for diplomatic relations. On several occasions it was witnessed by world that even countries like USA violate Vienna convention for diplomatic relations.
Like in the case with Germany in 2000 when two German brothers were accused of the murder of an American by accident and they were accused without given them opportunity to meet their consular and mission commissioned in America. They were not informed of their legal rights of contacting the diplomatic officials and appointing a lawyer for them by the United States Police Officials instead they were refused by US officials to contact their consulate when they themselves asked to do so. The German government filed a case in international tribunal against US for violation of Vienna convention of diplomatic and consular relations.
This is only one example. There are several other examples for the violation of Vienna convention for diplomatic relations that prove to be a challenge for United Nations and International relations commission. These examples trigger the minds of officials that do we really need amendment in Vienna convention to equip it with the changing environment and international conditions of relations between nations as well as practical realities of peace talks and negotiation between different nations. DO WE NEED REVISION? Immunity does not mean stupidity.
This is the general slogan used by people favoring amendments in Vienna convention. Immunity was introduced to provide a tension free and relax environment to diplomats and showing the spirit that lives of these diplomats are considered to be more valuable and every nation safeguard other diplomats lives, property and surroundings more than their own lives and safety. In the last century, when Vienna convention for diplomatic relations was introduced and ratified by different nations of the world issues and problems of nations were different.
Today terrorism is a serious threat that is present every where and violent acts of attacks can happen. Any one could be a part of it especially diplomats of rival countries. This scenario does not allow us to make exemptions. Whenever passengers are flying over any country they should be assure that they are safe because every one on their flight is examined equally and properly. For this assurance it is essential to make amendments in Vienna convention for diplomatic relations. Because above situation shows that today Vienna convention for diplomatic relation becomes obsolete and need to revise with current geopolitical scenario.
In recent years lots of diplomats are suspect for misuse of their official power and start thinking themselves something superior. It is realty important to realize that diplomats are arrested red handed for their involvement in crimes like rape, drug trafficking and driving after taking drugs or intoxicates. It s general rule that if a diplomat is suspect of any road accident after drinking he is not send to prison instead this accident is reported to foreign office and his native country. But that diplomat does not receive any direct punishment in host country.
Sometimes cases and punishment are followed them in their native countries. But generally it does not happen. By involving in drug trafficking and other abuses a diplomat contradict with the writs of Vienna convention for diplomatic relations that clearly states that no country will interfere in other domestic affair and professional obligation on diplomats to follow the rules and regulations of the country of their deputation and do not conduct any activity that is a contradictory with the Vienna convention for diplomatic relations.
In extreme cases of violation of international traditions of integrity, professionalism and violation of Vienna convention, or involvement in activities like attempt to theft national secrets of host country or involvement in illegal activities diplomats are expelled from their duties and immediately send back to their native country. In order to avoid certain violation of diplomatic rules and Vienna Convention it is essential to reconsider the law of Internationals relations and Vienna convention for diplomatic relations.
This call for a very interesting question related to diplomats that these immune people are subject to law as well but what law no body knows. Another important clause for consular relation is right of foreigners to meet their consulate members and take their help incase of any problem or incident happen with them in other countries or if foreigners are accused of any crime or alleged in illegal activities according to local crimes.
This writ is useful for all countries because there are several nations in the world those have hundreds of language and in a foreign country where another than a person’s native language is speak it becomes very difficult to follow and understand the legal procedures of the host country coupled with fear and terror of being alone in an entirely new place without any friends and family.
The importance of this article of Vienna convention for consular relations is understood by a real case of an American in France when he was arrested and suspect of a criminal offence like murder that he didn’t carried out during his very first visit to France. He was also not familiar with French and unable to read or write this very difficult language. The police did not allow him to meet consulate member and gave him a paper to sign which they claimed to be appointment letter of a lawyer for his case.
But that paper was a confession of that murder. This is a minor example showing that if Vienna convention was followed than it would be difficult for French attorney to make fool of him and play with his life. SUGGESTIONS: The suggestion for above discussion is as follows. It is essential for us to make slight amendments in Vienna convention for diplomatic relations like diplomatic immunity that is a very positive characteristic of the international law but it is sometime misuse by diplomats and their native countries.
To avoid these activities it is essential to limit their scope as well as privileges and makes them subject to local laws as well because when host nation asked for penalties and prosecution of diplomats to their native governments but do not get any response in long run. As far as treaties for different governments and Vienna convention for consular relation is concern they are a binding force between different nations and convenience of common man in foreign countries. These rules are in consent with human rights and justice as well.
They also prevent people from abuses. It is also required to make amendments in Vienna convention for diplomatic relations regarding negotiations and peace process. If a country is not willing to understand international laws then what should be done? And if a country has become a threat to the whole humanity and peace of the world and conduct offences like 9/11 then what should be done by sensible nations of the world in order to protect their interest and territories.
It is also required to understand that what the limit of attempts for peacemaking through negotiations and when it becomes essential to use power. When these questions will address no country will violate these conventions. CONCLUSION: Vienna convention for diplomatic relations is a statutory frame work that makes diplomatic relations and implementation of international law easier to implement. Although there are certain flaws in the system but more problems are due to ineffective implementation of the law rather than the law itself.
At present we need to answer few crucial questions raised in previous paragraphs related to Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and make minor amendment to avoid making it obsolete.
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