I think it’d be funny if each country could apply for a special cultural diplomatic immunity. Like, one law your diplomats could break anywhere because the practice is culturally accepted in your country. Sure, by funny I mean “horribly racist,” but it really would be entertaining to see what each country picked. America would probably pick the “name your price” ability: our diplomats would be able to buy anybody off, anywhere, without being charged with “bribery.” China would get the “putting lead in stuff” immunity.

I can’t imagine what the French would ask for.

Thought experiments aside, the diplomatic immunity that former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn wanted was laughed out of a New York court today. Like I said, it’s funny to see what people ask for…

Strauss-Kahn was trying to wriggle out of a civil suit filed against him by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo. It was a pretty novel claim for diplomatic immunity. From the New York Times:

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers had argued in court papers that his status as the head of an international organization with a special relationship with the United Nations protected him from lawsuits, even those based upon “acts done in the executive’s personal capacity.”

During oral arguments on the matter in March, one of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers argued that a convention laying out immunity privileges that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947 but was never signed by the United States, should be extended to Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

Although Mr. Strauss-Kahn had resigned his position of managing director at the International Monetary Fund by the time the civil lawsuit was filed, his lawyers said immunity still applied.

I’m telling you, he would have been better off claiming “Horny Frenchman Immunity” than that bollocks.

The judge was not impressed:

Justice Douglas E. McKeon of State Supreme Court in the Bronx characterized Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attempt to claim diplomatic immunity as “his own version of a Hail Mary pass,” noting that he had resigned from his position as the head of the International Monetary Fund when the suit was filed.

Which means we can all get ready for the civil suit! The prosecutors might not have found Diallo credible, but now we’re going to see if DSK can produce a large enough monetary fund to make Diallo go away before any more embarrassing details come out in a civil case.

Judge Rejects Strauss-Kahn’s Claim of Diplomatic Immunity [New York Times]


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