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The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international
treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relat ...

treaty
that defines a framework for
diplomatic relations Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the int ...
between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a
diplomatic mission A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
that enable
diplomats Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the int ...
to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. This forms the legal basis for
diplomatic immunity Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is a legal status wherein an individual or entity cannot be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outwei ...
. Its articles are considered a cornerstone of modern
international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities between states—such as war, diplomacy ...
. , it has been
ratified Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent that lacked the authority to bind the principal legally. Ratification defines the international act in which a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intend ...
by 193 states.


History

Throughout the history of
sovereign states A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social ...

sovereign states
,
diplomats Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the int ...
have enjoyed a special status. Their function to negotiate agreements between states demands certain special privileges. An envoy from another nation is traditionally treated as a guest, their communications with their home nation treated as confidential, and their freedom from coercion and subjugation by the host nation treated as essential. The first attempt to codify
diplomatic immunity Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is a legal status wherein an individual or entity cannot be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outwei ...
into
diplomatic law Diplomatic law is that area of international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A ...
occurred with the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Congress of Vienna
in 1815. This was followed much later by the Convention regarding Diplomatic Officers (Havana, 1928). The present treaty on the treatment of diplomats was the outcome of a draft by the
International Law Commission The International Law Commission (ILC) is a body of experts responsible for helping develop and codify international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards gen ...
. The treaty was adopted on 18 April 1961, by the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities held in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
, and first implemented on 24 April 1964. The same Conference also adopted the Optional Protocol concerning Acquisition of Nationality, the Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, the Final Act and four resolutions annexed to that Act. One notable aspect which came out of the 1961 treaty was the establishment of the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
's diplomatic immunity status with other nations. Two years later, the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
adopted a closely related treaty, the
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = W , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, ...

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
.


Summary of provisions

The treaty is an extensive document, containing 53 articles. The following is a basic overview of its key provisions. * Article 9. The host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff to be ''
persona non grata In diplomacy, a ' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
''. The sending state must recall this person within a reasonable period of time, or otherwise this person may lose their diplomatic immunity. * Article 22. The premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, are inviolable and must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. Furthermore, the host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage. The host country must never search the premises, nor seize its documents or property. Article 30 extends this provision to the private residence of the diplomats. * Article 24 establishes that the archives and documents of a diplomatic mission are inviolable. The receiving country shall not seize or open such documents. * Article 27. The host country must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country. A
diplomatic bag A diplomatic bag, also known as a diplomatic pouch, is a container with certain legal protections used for carrying official correspondence or other items between a diplomatic mission A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of peop ...
must never be opened, even on suspicion of abuse. A
diplomatic courier ''Diplomatic Courier'' is a 1952 crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Far ...
must never be arrested or detained. * Article 29. Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32. * Article 31.1c Actions not covered by diplomatic immunity: professional activity outside diplomat's official functions. * Article 34 speaks about tax exemption of diplomatic agents while Article 36 establishes that diplomatic agents are exempted from custom duties. * Article 37. The family members of diplomats that are living in the host country enjoy most of the same protections as the diplomats themselves.


Optional protocols

In the same year that the treaty was adopted, two amendment
protocols Protocol may refer to: Sociology and politics * Protocol (politics), a formal agreement between nation states * Protocol (diplomacy), the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state * Etiquette, a code of personal behavior Science and technology ...
were added. Countries may
ratify Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational inst ...
the main treaty without necessarily ratifying these optional agreements. * ''Concerning acquisition of nationality.'' The head of the mission, the staff of the mission, and their families, shall not acquire the nationality of the receiving country. * ''Concerning compulsory settlement of disputes.'' Disputes arising from the interpretation of this treaty may be brought before the
International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmenta ...

International Court of Justice
.


States parties to the convention

, there are 193 state parties to the convention including all
UN member states UN is an abbreviation for the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states ...
except
Palau Palau (), officially the Republic of Palau ( pau, Beluu er a Belau) and historically ''Belau'', ''Palaos'' or ''Pelew'', is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territori ...

Palau
and
South Sudan South Sudan (), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East Africa, east/central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by the Central African Republic, to th ...

South Sudan
. Included as state parties are the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
and
State of Palestine Palestine ( ar, فلسطين, Filasṭīn), officially the State of Palestine ( ar, دولة فلسطين, Dawlat Filasṭīn) is a ''de jure'' sovereign state in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmos ...
, the two UN observer states. The
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. It shares Maritime boundary, maritime borders with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the sout ...

Republic of China
signed and ratified the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations on 18 April 1961 and 19 December 1969 respectively prior to the UN granting China's seat to the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
. There are no states that have signed the treaty but not ratified it.


See also

*
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations en, Viennese , iso_code = AT-9 , registration_plate = W , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, ...

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
(1963) *
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) is an international agreement A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law ...

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
(1969) * Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986) * Vienna Conventions for a list of other conventions *
Diplomatic immunity Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is a legal status wherein an individual or entity cannot be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outwei ...
*
Protection of Diplomats Convention Consumer protection laws often mandate the posting of informative notices, such as this one which appears in all automotive repair shops in California. Protection is any measure taken to guard a thing against damage Damage is any change in ...
* Precedence among European monarchies


References

*Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 9, No 1 (2016)


External links


Original text related to this articleDiplomatic Relations ProtocolsThe Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 50th Anniversary Website Created by the 2011 VCDR 50th Anniversary Project


on the ''Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations'' in th

* ttp://legal.un.org/avl/ls/Denza_DCL.html Lectureby Eileen Denza entitled ''Diplomatic and Consular Law – Topical Issues'' in th
Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law


by
John Dugard Christopher John Robert Dugard (born 23 August 1936 in Fort Beaufort), known as John Dugard, is a South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of Sout ...
entitled ''Diplomatic Protection'' in th
Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
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