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Diplomatic Law in a New Millennium$
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Paul Behrens

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795940

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795940.001.0001

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The Protection of Diplomatic Correspondence in the Digital Age

The Protection of Diplomatic Correspondence in the Digital Age

Time to Revise the Vienna Convention?

(p.204) 13 The Protection of Diplomatic Correspondence in the Digital Age
Diplomatic Law in a New Millennium

Patricio Grané Labat

Naomi Burke

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the impact of new technology on compliance with obligations under the VCDR. It focuses on the provisions of the VCDR that establish the inviolability of diplomatic archives and correspondence and considers the challenges posed by technology that was not available at the time of the drafting of that treaty but which is now commonplace. It evaluates the ever-present risk of unauthorized digital access to diplomatic correspondence and archives, including by non-State actors (eg WikiLeaks), and examines whether the framework of the VCDR is still adequate to deal with those challenges. The chapter also addresses the submission of protected information obtained in violation of the VCDR as evidence in proceedings before international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The chapter analyses the admissibility of that evidence and offers answers on how international courts should deal with that information.

Keywords:   diplomatic archives, diplomatic cables, inviolability, admissibility, evidence, technology, WikiLeaks

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