Trump branded "oafish and selfish" by grieving mother in diplomatic immunity case.

raetsel

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It's quite surprising that this hasn't attracted more attention on p.ie at this point, bearing in mind the highly contentious use of diplomatic immunity in a case which falls beyond the original spirit of the indemnity intended.
A summary of the facts follows.
Harry Dunn a 19 year-old motorcyclist from Northamptonshire was killed in a road accident by Anne Sacoolas, wife of an American living in a nearby US military installation. Mrs. Sacoolas was apparently driving on the wrong side of the road and collided with Mr. Dunn at a hidden dip.
Mrs Sacoolas has claimed diplomatic immunity by virtue of her husband's employment, as is her right, and left to UK shortly after the accident on the 27th of August, enabling her to escape prosecution.
Since then there has been a growing campaign to have Mrs. Sacoolas return to allow police to continue their investigation into the case.
The case finally reached the White House yesterday when President Trump spoke publicly about it for the first time. He offered to intervene, in order to persuade Mrs. Sacoolas to meet the bereaved family for "healing" purposes, but did not offer to remove diplomatic immunity in the case.
Later yesterday President Trump was reported to have been photographed with a note marked SECRET saying that Mrs. Sacoolas would not be returning to the UK.
And in an astonishing moment last night Mr Trump was also photographed holding a briefing note marked 'secret', and written by the US National Security Council, that said: 'The spouse of the US government employee will not return to the United Kingdom'.
Reacting to the slip-up, Harry's mother said: 'I’ve seen it [the note] - we’re just disgusted' and in a message for Mr Trump she added: ‘He must know exactly where she is. I would urge him to put her on a plane back to the UK to face our justice system here, face us, and talk to us.
The case reflects very badly on the USA, which, so far, has behaved shamefully.
 
Last edited:


edg

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I was never a big fan of diplomatic immunity. As far as I know, no president has ever revoked DI in a case like this.

I imagine the US won't revoke DI as this would make DI meaningless. I would say some form of financial award will happen though.
 

Levellers

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Neither Mrs. Sacoolas nor her husband has diplomatic immunity. They are not on the US embassy diplomatic list.

Her husband works for the National Security Agency so there is possibly some secret agreement between intelligence agencies.
 

Sync

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Can't see why the US (or any country) would waive DI in this case. It would send a TERRIBLE message to their state employees.

Can she be civilly sued in the US?
 

raetsel

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I was never a big fan of diplomatic immunity. As far as I know, no president has ever revoked DI in a case like this.

I imagine the US won't revoke DI as this would make DI meaningless. I would say some form of financial award will happen though.
Absolutely false.
Diplomatic immunity was originally devised only to cover crimes carried out by diplomats when acting on behalf of their governments in the host country, typically spying. That is perfectly reasonable. But its use, particularly when the countries involved are close allies for motoring offences or other crimes which have nothing to do with government business, is utterly reprehensible. The USA gets away with this conduct because it waves the biggest stick, and no other reason.
It does however serve as a warning to UK voters of the wider implications of the country's future relationship post-Brexit, and particularly the value of Trump's promise of the "biggest trade deal in the history of the Solar System" or whatever blandishment he waved at the Tories ace an inducement to cause havoc in Europe. But that's another story.
There is a strong case here for reviewing and changing DI rules in situations where it is disgustingly unjust to use it. This is an obvious example.
 

raetsel

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Can't see why the US (or any country) would waive DI in this case. It would send a TERRIBLE message to their state employees.

Can she be civilly sued in the US?
Apparently yes. I'll look for a link and post it later.
 

petaljam

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Can't see why the US (or any country) would waive DI in this case. It would send a TERRIBLE message to their state employees.

Can she be civilly sued in the US?
Agreed that the US removing her immunity is a complex issue though far from impossible, given the nature of the incident and the country's close links with the U.K., but in any case there is no reason why she and/or her husband shouldn't be pressured by the US Stat Dept into giving up her immunity herself. That's certainly been done before.
 

rainmaker

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I imagine the US won't revoke DI as this would make DI meaningless. I would say some form of financial award will happen though.
How would waiving it in a case as serious as this make DI meaningless? That seems an exceptionally stupid position to take.

DI was never intended to be used in a case like this - it is for the protection of diplomats from blackmail and threat, not to allow people to behave criminally with impunity.

As for your suggestion of paying off the parents - wow, do you think that's what they want?

A little while back the UK (quite rightly) waived DI so one of ours could be prosecuted for domestic violence. That has not rendered DI meaningless whatsoever.
 

rainmaker

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Can't see why the US (or any country) would waive DI in this case. It would send a TERRIBLE message to their state employees.
The UK waived it recently to allow a British holder of immunity to be prosecuted for domestic violence.

I think it would send state employees the right message. We will uphold your DI except if you behave criminally in a non hostile state.
 

edg

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How would waiving it in a case as serious as this make DI meaningless? That seems an exceptionally stupid position to take.

DI was never intended to be used in a case like this - it is for the protection of diplomats from blackmail and threat, not to allow people to behave criminally with impunity.

As for your suggestion of paying off the parents - wow, do you think that's what they want?

A little while back the UK (quite rightly) waived DI so one of ours could be prosecuted for domestic violence. That has not rendered DI meaningless whatsoever.
That's why I started post by saying I'm not a fan of DI.

Way to take my post out of context.

I hope the parents get a lot of compensation from the US.
 

edg

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The UK waived it recently to allow a British holder of immunity to be prosecuted for domestic violence.

I think it would send state employees the right message. We will uphold your DI except if you behave criminally in a non hostile state.
So you have diplomatic immunity until you need it?

You say you don't know how this makes DI useless?
 

rainmaker

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That's why I started post by saying I'm not a fan of DI.

Way to take my post out of context.

I hope the parents get a lot of compensation from the US.
I see where you're coming from, but I think they would like more than compensation.

DI was never intended to allow people to kill and escape investigation or consequence.
 

petaljam

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That's why I started post by saying I'm not a fan of DI.
Poor logic here.

Diplomatic immunity is essential in countries like Thailand, China, Russia or any number of places where displeasing the wrong person can get you - or a member of your family, to ensure compliance - locked up.

It was never intended to allow diplomats and their families immunity to kill residents of the countries where they are posted.

And this case is not an argument for getting rid of the concept of diplomatic immunity. Jeez.
 

Betson

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Can't see why the US (or any country) would waive DI in this case. It would send a TERRIBLE message to their state employees.

Can she be civilly sued in the US?
According to a Lawyer on Sky News the other day she can be sued as the type of immunity her husband has is not diplomatic immunity in the strictest since , it is some other external agreement that has has been signed between the UK and the US for these specific type of US employees(spies) in the UK. The agreement gives the benefits of diplomatic immunity on UK soil but does not protect the employees from civil suits as full diplomatic immunity might.
 

petaljam

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So you have diplomatic immunity until you need it?

You say you don't know how this makes DI useless?
It's supposed to be protection for diplomats and their families from being "taken hostage" in some way, literally or metaphorically, in any conflict between the two states.

It's not supposed to be a licence to escape the consequences of actions that would also be illegal in their home country. But it has to be total, at least theoretically, because some countries are so corrupt or so authoritarian that minor or non existent "crimes" can suffice to put someone annoying away.

That's not the case here.
 

edg

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Absolutely false.
Diplomatic immunity was originally devised only to cover crimes carried out by diplomats when acting on behalf of their governments in the host country, typically spying. That is perfectly reasonable. But its use, particularly when the countries involved are close allies for motoring offences or other crimes which have nothing to do with government business, is utterly reprehensible. The USA gets away with this conduct because it waves the biggest stick, and no other reason.
It does however serve as a warning to UK voters of the wider implications of the country's future relationship post-Brexit, and particularly the value of Trump's promise of the "biggest trade deal in the history of the Solar System" or whatever blandishment he waved at the Tories ace an inducement to cause havoc in Europe. But that's another story.
There is a strong case here for reviewing and changing DI rules in situations where it is disgustingly unjust to use it. This is an obvious example.
I strongly agree with reviewing DI with a view to making it more fit for purpose. However, as Trump has been mentioned I fear not much rational debate will be had!

Poor logic here.

Diplomatic immunity is essential in countries like Thailand, China, Russia or any number of places where displeasing the wrong person can get you - or a member of your family, to ensure compliance - locked up.

It was never intended to allow diplomats and their families immunity to kill residents of the countries where they are posted.

And this case is not an argument for getting rid of the concept of diplomatic immunity. Jeez.
I say that I'm not a fan of DI. I also say I would like to see it reviewed.
You call this bad logic then proceed to argue points I never made.

No offense, but I'd rather not chat to you on this topic. It's already gone down the rabbit hole.
 

edg

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It's supposed to be protection for diplomats and their families from being "taken hostage" in some way, literally or metaphorically, in any conflict between the two states.

It's not supposed to be a licence to escape the consequences of actions that would also be illegal in their home country. But it has to be total, at least theoretically, because some countries are so corrupt or so authoritarian that minor or non existent "crimes" can suffice to put someone annoying away.

That's not the case here.
You are arguing points I never made. Enjoy your morning.
 

petaljam

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I strongly agree with reviewing DI with a view to making it more fit for purpose. However, as Trump has been mentioned I fear not much rational debate will be had!



I say that I'm not a fan of DI. I also say I would like to see it reviewed.
You call this bad logic then proceed to argue points I never made.

No offense, but I'd rather not chat to you on this topic. It's already gone down the rabbit hole.
"I'm not a fan of DI" is pretty explicit. If you actually meant you're not a fan of abuses of DI then you should have said so.

But as you're also saying that it can never be removed in cases like this without making a mockery if the whole concept, it does seem like you're a bit mixed up about what you're arguing for. Or against. Again.
 


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