Non aviation content. Play nice – No religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.
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By Jim Jones
#1741216
From today's Times, rather a different account to what we were told by UK press

"A tragic car accident took the life of Harry Dunn and his family are understandably devastated. When a wrong has been committed we want accountability and justice, and the #JusticeforHarry campaign rightly seeks this. But when a diplomat has immunity (and therefore their family, too) they are immune from criminal jurisdiction — and the British government knows this.

Under pressure from the campaign, the government has allowed an extradition request for Anne Sacoolas, an American who was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident, to go forward, despite knowing full well that the US would deny the request. Under similar circumstances, the UK government would not waive immunity nor extradite a British citizen.

So why did the government do this? Probably because it is easier to make the US look like the bad guy than try to explain the intricacies of diplomatic relations and their long-term benefits to the country. Doing otherwise, it reckons, would only make the government look like it was kowtowing to the US, rather than adhering to international law.

At a minimum, government officials should correct the narrative that has taken root surrounding this unfortunate incident: Anne Sacoolas did not “flee the country”; she left three weeks after having been interviewed twice by the police and being informed that she would not be interviewed again for three or four months. She was not “whisked away in a private plane”; the family flew back to the US on a normal commercial flight after concluding that it would be untenable to remain in the small community of Croughton. It is not true that she “slipped out of the country without telling the authorities”; the US informed the Foreign Office before her departure.

If the US is not going to extradite, perhaps a more productive form of justice could be explored. For example, an American living in France, who similarly caused a fatal accident after driving on the wrong side of the road, was required to complete 500 hours of community service. Why could this not be negotiated by the UK government to take effect in the US? Apparently there were no markings to alert drivers to keep on the left on leaving RAF Croughton. Why not require the US to sponsor, in Harry Dunn’s name, markings at all bases where there are Americans? Or require driver training and “keep left” stickers in the cars of all diplomats, as the campaign in the Highlands for tourists has done? That’s a form of justice that might just save many future lives."

Colleen Graffy is a law professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, California

United States
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By OCB
#1741218
@Jim Jones - absolutely agreed, we can’t rely on what the press say; or even what politicians or depts say.

That’s why the whole sorry story has to pass by a court of law.

With that article - I adore the massive leap of faith that states it was a “tragic accident”

Said “prof of law” was there was she - when the fatal incident happened?

I look forward to her testimony under oath on that matter....
User avatar
By Rob L
#1741226
Jim Jones wrote:From today's Times, rather a different account to what we were told by UK press

<snip>

"A tragic car accident took the life of Harry Dunn and his family are understandably devastated. When a wrong has been committed we want accountability and justice, and the #JusticeforHarry campaign rightly seeks this. But when a diplomat has immunity (and therefore their family, too)


I'm not posting about this particular case, but is it correct that the family of a diplomat have immunity from prosecution too? So if the son/daughter/nephew/niece/parent/grandparent/great uncle (how far do I have to go?) of a diplomat commits for example blatant robbery or murder, there is no prosecution?

Can someone more cleverer than me find what are the internationally accepted "diplomatic immunity" rules
User avatar
By kanga
#1741233
Rob L wrote:..is it correct that the family of a diplomat have immunity from prosecution too? ..


AIUI, yes, if their accrediting government says they do; and USG always does, as do many nations. Host country can only refuse them (denying agrement before arrival) or expel them (Persona Non Grata). HMG does for diplomats' families (and other HMG employees who are not of 'diplomat' statues such as junior F&CO staff and those seconded to the mission from Departments other than F&CO and below 'Attache' status) only when posted in and accredited to nations whose judicial systems are inherently 'suspect'; dependents' postings in such places are deliberately limited, with many postings being unaccompanied.

Thus, when I was in the British Defence Liaison Staff but not an Attache, in Washington and Ottawa, neither I nor any of my family had immunity; all my US analogues in Ottawa, and their families, did.
Last edited by kanga on Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Flyin'Dutch', johnm liked this
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By kanga
#1741236
Jim Jones wrote:From today's Times, rather a different account to what we were told by UK press

"A tragic car accident took the life of Harry Dunn and his family are understandably devastated. ... Under similar circumstances, the UK government would not waive immunity nor extradite a British citizen.

..

Colleen Graffy is a law professor at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, California

United States


[my bold]

.. actually, AIUI, HMG might well waive immunity, and British courts (not a governmental/Ministerial decision) might well extradite in analogous circumstances. It is not rare for US academics to assume that other comparable nations always do things the US way :roll:
johnm liked this
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By PaulB
#1741239
Rob L wrote:Can someone more cleverer than me find what are the internationally accepted "diplomatic immunity" rules


I'm not cleverer than you but the current rules are contained within a treaty called the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

I think, and I'm no expert, that the (or a) purpose is to prevent host countries harassing the diplomatic and consular staff of other countries and subjecting them to (perhaps) false charges or imprisonment.

Of course the host can always expel any diplomatic staff that they don't like.
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By OCB
#1741240
dunno about anyone else - but I’m still reeling from a US prof of law being published in the Times stating - like it was established fact - “a tragic accident”.

It was a fatal RTA - that hasn’t even been near a court...the main suspect has foxtrot oscar’d, has an extradition warrant against - is (indirectly) quoted as saying will refuse to return to the UK - :shock:
Last edited by OCB on Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By PaulB
#1741241
The "A" of RTA is ACCIDENT which is why the term used these days is RTC.

If everyone who made a mistake was prosecuted, it would be a sorry state of affairs. (Commenting in general and not specifically about this case.)
OCB, Rob L liked this
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By OCB
#1741243
PaulB wrote:The "A" of RTA is ACCIDENT which is why the term used these days is RTC.

If everyone who made a mistake was prosecuted, it would be a sorry state of affairs. (Commenting in general and not specifically about this case.)


Ah, I didn’t realise you were at the scene as well! I guess you were too busy chatting up the American law prof to bother recording the RTC.... :clown:
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By PaulB
#1741246
Sorry, I don't understand........
User avatar
By Rob L
#1741247
kanga wrote:
Rob L wrote:..is it correct that the family of a diplomat have immunity from prosecution too? ..


AIUI, yes, if their accrediting government says they do; and USG always does, as do many nations. Host country can only refuse them (denying agrement before arrival) or expel them (Persona Non Grata). HMG does for diplomats' families (and other HMG employees who are not of 'diplomat' statues such as junior F&CO staff and those seconded to the mission from Departments other than F&CO and below 'Attache' status) only when posted in and accredited to nations whose judicial systems are inherently 'suspect'; dependents' postings in such places are deliberately limited, with many postings being unaccompanied.

Thus, when I was in the British Defence Liaison Staff but not an Attache, in Washington and Ottawa, neither I nor any of my family had immunity; all my US analogues in Ottawa, and their families, did.


OK, thanks Kanga
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By OCB
#1741249
...I’m maybe being too simplistic and abstract, and also swayed by how such incidents are handled under Scots law.

Almost everyone is quoting the incident as a “tragic accident”.

The question I always ask in situations like this - and almost never get an honest “yes/no” answer is:

were you there?

Shirley it’s only a “tragic accident” once a coroner has decided so, if I understand English law (it’s different from Scots and Napoleonic code,which I’m tbh more familiar with). :wall:
By johnm
#1741250
It does not take a great deal of intelligence to figure out that the unfortunate woman was driving on the wrong side of the road. As I pointed out pages ago, many of us have made the corresponding mistake on the other side of the channel, but happily without such tragic consequences in my case.

Whatever they do the UK govt will pander to the popular press and we'll see the usual triumph of form over substance and nothing will bring the poor lad back and I would assume that the woman is pretty cut up about the whole thing if she has any shred of decency.
User avatar
By Rob L
#1741251
PaulB wrote:
Rob L wrote:Can someone more cleverer than me find what are the internationally accepted "diplomatic immunity" rules


I'm not cleverer than you but the current rules are contained within a treaty called the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

I think, and I'm no expert, that the (or a) purpose is to prevent host countries harassing the diplomatic and consular staff of other countries and subjecting them to (perhaps) false charges or imprisonment.

Of course the host can always expel any diplomatic staff that they don't like.


Thanks. Was this person of "the diplomatic and consular staff of other countries"?

I'm just curious about the rules. I do have empathy for the family of Harry Dunn.
User avatar
By Rob L
#1741252
johnm wrote:...if she has any shred of decency.


Well? Has she "done the decent thing" and come back to the UK to say "I'm sorry, it was an honest mistake"?

No.
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