Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations


    In News

    • India has launched a strong protest against the United Kingdom over the vandalization incident at the Indian High Commission in London 
      • Dy High Commissioner was reminded in this regard of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the Vienna Convention.”

    Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 

    • About:
      • It provides a complete framework for the establishment, maintenance, and termination of diplomatic relations on a basis of consent between independent sovereign States.
      • It entered into force in  1964 and is nearly universally ratified, with Palau and South Sudan being the exceptions.
      • It codifies the longstanding custom of diplomatic immunity, in which diplomatic missions are granted privileges that enable diplomats to perform their functions without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country.
    • Key Provisions: 
      • Article 22 confirms the inviolability of mission premises – barring any right of entry by law enforcement officers of the receiving State and imposing on the receiving State a special duty to protect the premises against intrusion, damage, disturbance of the peace, or infringement of dignity. 
        • Even in response to abuse of this inviolability or emergency, the premises may not be entered without the consent of the head of the mission. 
          • As per the Vienna Convention, a “receiving State” refers to the host nation where a diplomatic mission is located. 
        • Basically, the security of any High Commission or Embassy is the responsibility of the host nation. While diplomatic missions can also employ their own security, ultimately, the host nation is accountable for security
      • Article 24 ensures the inviolability of mission archives and documents – even outside mission premises – so that the receiving State may not seize or inspect them or permit their use in legal proceedings.
      • Article 27 guarantees free communication between a mission and its sending State by all appropriate means, and ensures that the diplomatic bag carrying such communications may not be opened or detained even on suspicion of abuse.
      • Article 29 provides inviolability for the person of diplomats and article 31 establishes their immunity from civil and criminal jurisdiction – with precise exceptions to immunity from civil jurisdiction where previous State practice had varied.
      • Article 34 sets out the tax exemption accorded to diplomats along with detailed exceptions in respect of matters unrelated to their official duties or to ordinary life in the receiving State. 
      • Article 36 provides for exemption from customs duties on diplomatic imports throughout a diplomat’s posting.
      • Article 38 bars from all privileges and immunities, except for immunity for their official acts, nationals, and permanent residents of the receiving State. 

    Vienna Conventions

    • The term “Vienna Convention” can refer to any of a number of treaties signed in Vienna, most of which are related to the harmonisation or formalisation of the procedures of international diplomacy. 
    • Various Vienna Conventions
      • Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)
      • Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (1963)
      • Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963)
      • Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968)
      • Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969)
      • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1985)
      • Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986)
      • United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)

    Source: TH