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Diplomatic Immunity and Domestic Violence

ANAA ABUALFARAJ PROFESSOR CHAITRA SHENOY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW 637-001 FALL 2012

Outline
Theoretical Perspective of Diplomatic Immunity

Provisions of the international law on diplomatic

immunity

Victims of domestic violence Diplomatic immunity and domestic violence in the US Case studies Existing Solutions Recommended Policies

Theoretical Perspective of Diplomatic Immunity


Personal representation Extraterritoriality

Functional necessity

Provisions of the international law on diplomatic immunity


The Vienna Convention 1961 Established 4 categories

For upper staff, including head diplomats, civil or

criminal prosecution is not possible


For lower staff, prosecution possible for acts outside

the scope of official duties

Victims of domestic violence


In addition to women and children, domestic

workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence in the diplomatic setting
Many victims are afraid to ask for help due to the

immunity and power of their abuser


DC Code 16-1001(6)-(9) defines domestic violence

to include violence or abuse against one who shares a mutual residence with the offender

Diplomatic immunity and domestic violence in the US


In 2007, the ACLU conducted a study of domestic

violence between diplomatic officials and their employees domestic workers


The study found 63 reported incidents of domestic

violence and abuse, ranging from underpayment to physical violence

Case studies
Yoshiaki Nagaya, a member of the Japanese

diplomatic mission, was charged with domestic violence against his wife
Because Nagaya was a lower member of the

diplomatic mission, he is liable for crimes committed that do not pertain to his official duties
He has been charged with domestic violence and will

face trial in the United States

Case Studies continued


Mildrate Yancho Nchang worked for a Cameroonian

diplomat in a domestic capacity


She worked for 3 years without pay, had her passport

confiscated, and was beaten by her employers


After filing a complaint to have her passport

returned to her, a Maryland court dismissed her case on the grounds of diplomatic immunity

Existing Solutions to the problems related to domestic violence


Waiver of Immunity to the violent diplomat Persona Non Grata procedure Termination of diplomatic relations with countries

supporting domestic violence

State department measures where the laws of the

country are applied to prevent domestic violence among foreigners

Recommended Policies and Further Solutions


A claims fund whereby the victim of domestic

violence would be compensated


A mandatory insurance scheme to compensate

victims of domestic violence


Establishment of a permanent diplomatic criminal

court to charge diplomats found engaging in domestic violence

Thank You

Q and A