Vienna Dysfunction: 5 Times Rogue Diplomats Became A Bone Of Contention Between Nations

10/09/2015 9:04 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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FILE, this Feb. 11, 2015 file image shows former Managing Director of International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss Kahn leaving his hotel in Lille, northern France, as he goes on trial for sex charges at a court. Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces a verdict Friday in the last of a string of legal cases that started when a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in 2011. The onetime presidential contender and former International Monetary Fund chief is accused of aggravated pimping in a prostitution trial in the French city of Lille, but he may well be acquitted for lack of evidence of a crime. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

For all their sophistication and spiffiness, diplomats can be pretty mean and outrageously badly behaved. Now we're not sure how the Saudi Arabia-diplomat fracas involving Nepalese maids in Delhi is going to work out yet, but meanwhile here are five instances of rogue diplomats hitting international headlines. The Vienna Convention makes such cases tricky because the law of the host country or its agents cannot touch the diplomat.

In 1984, British policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher was fatally wounded by a gunshot from within the Libyan embassy. None of the suspects could be questioned because they were protected by diplomatic immunity, though 15 years later, Libya apologized and made financial reparations worth a "six figure sum" to the cop's family.

On 27 January 2011, in Pakistan, an American embassy employee, Raymond Allen Davis, shot and killed two Pakistani civilians, while a third man was struck and killed by a U.S. consulate car responding to the shooting. U.S. State Department declared him a diplomat and badgered Pakistan for immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which Pakistan is a signatory. Davis, a CIA agent, was let go under a Sharia law deal that allowed compensation to the victim's families.

In 1967, the Burmese Ambassador to Sri Lanka shot his wife after suspecting her of an affair. The next morning, the Ambassador built a pyre on the back lawn, placed his dead wife on it and set it alight. He was untouched of course and made it home to Burma, where he was later fired from his job.

In April 2012, Panamanian diplomat Erick Bairnals Shcks was arrested for raping a 19-year-old Filipina in Manila but was released from detention when he claimed diplomatic immunity.

A Mexican delegate stole the BlackBerry phones of several White House officials in 2008 during a bilateral meeting in New Orleans. He was nabbed by Secret Service personnel just as he was about to board a plane to Mexico.

Then there is the fun story about a large board outside the Swiss Embassy in Caracas complaining about stray golf balls from an exclusive club next door. The board says that anyone injured by the golf balls stands in violation of the conventions of the Vienna Convention.

Then there are of course numerous instances of thieving, drunk driving and car crashes involving diplomats.

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