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Themes and Theories$
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Rosalyn Higgins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262350.001.0001

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The Abuse of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities: Recent United Kingdom Experience

The Abuse of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities: Recent United Kingdom Experience

(p.383) 4.5 The Abuse of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities: Recent United Kingdom Experience
Themes and Theories

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

Oxford University Press

It has frequently been observed that there is generally good compliance with the law of diplomatic immunity because here, almost as in no other area of international law, the reciprocal benefits of compliance are visible and manifest. Virtually every state that is host to a foreign diplomatic mission will have its own embassy in the territory of the sending state. Every state wants its own diplomats operating abroad, and its own diplomatic bags, embassies and archives, to receive those protections that are provided by international law. Honoring those same obligations vis-à-vis the diplomatic community in one’s own country is widely perceived as a major factor in ensuring that there is no erosion of the international law requirements on diplomatic privileges and immunities. The purpose of diplomatic law is to facilitate international diplomacy, balancing the pursuit of the foreign policy interests of the sending state with respect for the territorial sovereignty of the receiving state. However, immunity does not entitle diplomats to flout local laws.

Keywords:   diplomatic immunity, international law, diplomatic mission, international diplomacy, diplomatic bags, diplomatic privileges, foreign policy, diplomats, territorial sovereignty

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