September 16, 2019
 In 2022-Limits of Diplomatic Immunity

Country: United States of America
Delegate Name: Sarah Dixon

Legal Committee
Limits of Diplomatic Immunity
United States of America
Sarah Dixon
Forest Hills Eastern

Codified into international law by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic immunity was created to provide diplomats with safety and protection from unjust prosecution by a host state. High-ranking embassy officials and their families are typically given the greatest degree of immunity, including protection from criminal courts and mostly from civil courts, while less immunity is offered toward other diplomatic personnel. Diplomatic immunity is usually extended to representatives of foreign nations in expectation of reciprocation. While the idea of diplomatic immunity is mutually shared around the world, host states often differ in their execution of its limitations. Under certain circumstances, diplomats may be detained by a host state while a request to waive immunity is considered by the home country. Diplomats may also be expelled back to their home country, where they remain unprotected from prosecution. Limits to diplomatic immunity are poorly defined, which many nations view as a problem requiring immediate rectification.

The United States of America adheres to the principles introduced by the Vienna Conventions through the US Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978. Generally, the US extends generous diplomatic immunity to visiting diplomats with the expectation of reciprocation from foreign nations host to US diplomats. Diplomatic immunity allows US diplomats to work more freely in host states less protective of individual rights. Similar to all nations, the US must request a waiver of immunity from diplomats’ home countries in order to advance cases concerning foreign diplomats to the courts. Such waivers are reviewed by these foreign nations, who can, like the US, reject such waivers in order to protect the principle of diplomatic immunity. The US recognizes the importance of achieving justice and maintaining proper relationships with foreign nations; thus, the US is willing to provide cooperation in the international investigation of crimes committed by its diplomats. However, the US is not inclined to consider any endangering extraditions of its citizens to another nation in order to be prosecuted. US diplomats, or related members, within the US who are under criminal investigation by foreign nations are to remain within the US, unless otherwise expressed by such people, throughout the duration of the case.

The United States of America recognizes the importance of diplomatic immunity, urging the Legal Committee to consider the implications of additional limitations. Diplomatic immunity enables states to maintain diplomatic relations and protects diplomats from unjust prosecution by host states with fewer individual rights. Limiting such crucial immunity is dangerous, but the US wishes to consider other opinions in order to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion. Nevertheless, foreign nations must acknowledge that cases concerning US diplomats should be negotiated between the involved states while the diplomat awaits prosecution on US soil. The US urges that these cases are handled first by the home country before seeking further charges.

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