Consular immunity privileges are described in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 (VCCR). Consular immunity offers protections similar to diplomatic immunity, but these protections are not as extensive, given the functional differences between consular and diplomatic officers. For example, consular officers are not accorded absolute immunity from a host country’s criminal jurisdiction, they may be tried for certain local crimes upon action by a local court, and are immune from local jurisdiction only in cases directly relating to consular functions.
Consular and Diplomatic immunity in the US
Category May be arrested or detained Residence may be entered subject to ordinary procedures May be issued traffic ticket May be subpoenaed as witness May be prosecuted Official family member Diplomatic Diplomatic agent No1 No Yes No No Same as sponsor Member of administrative and technical staff No1 No Yes No No Same as sponsor Service staff Yes2 Yes Yes Yes No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes2 No2 Consular Career consular officers Yes, if for a felony and pursuant to a warrant.2 Yes4 Yes No, for official acts. Testimony may not be compelled in any case. No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes3 No2 Honorary consular officers Yes Yes Yes No, for official acts. Yes, in all other cases No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes No Consular employees Yes2 Yes Yes No, for official acts. Yes, in all other cases No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes2 No2 International organization Diplomatic - level staff of missions to international organizations No1 No Yes No No Same as sponsor International organization staff3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes No, for official acts. Yes, in all other cases No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes3 No2 Support staff of missions to international organizations Yes Yes Yes No, for official acts. Yes, in all other cases No, for official acts. Otherwise, yes No 1Reasonable constraints, however, may be applied in emergency circumstances involving self-defense, public safety, or the prevention of serious criminal acts. 2This table presents general rules. Particularly in the cases indicated, the employees of certain foreign countries may enjoy higher levels of privileges and immunities on the basis of special bilateral agreements. 3A small number of senior officers are entitled to be treated identically to "diplomatic agents". 4Note that consular residences are sometimes located within the official consular premises. In such cases, only the official office space is protected from police entry.
- ^ http://cil.nus.edu.sg/rp/il/pdf/1963%20Vienna%20Convention%20on%20Consular%20Relations-pdf.pdf
- ^ http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_2_1963.pdf
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