Diplomatic Law: A Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Diplomatic Law: A Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Diplomatic Law: A Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Diplomatic Law: A Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Synopsis

This book is a commentary on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the universally-accepted framework for diplomacy between sovereign States. It is the second edition of a highly-respected work, first published in 1976, which was written with the benefit of the author's deep and practical understanding of the subject as a Legal Counsellor in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Denzas book is widely-recognized as the leading work of authority in the field. In this enlarged, rewritten and fully-updated edition, she places each provision of the Convention in its historical context. The negotiating background to the provisions is supplemented with a comprehensive commentary on the application of the Convention by the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, together with expanded coverage of the diplomatic practice and jurisprudence of other States. The book also includes a thorough examination of novel problems in the field, not least the abuse of diplomatic immunity, as exemplified in the mid-1980s by notorious cases such as the Libyan Peoples Bureau siege and the attempted kidnapping of Umaru Dikko, as well as terrorist violence and hostile demonstrations against embassies. This eagerly-awaited new edition provides an invaluable source of practical guidance for ministries of foreign affairs and diplomats in the field. It will be equally welcomed by practitioners and scholars of public international law as an indispensable source of reference and learning.

Excerpt

When the first edition of Diplomatic Law was completed the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations had been in force for eleven years, and 112 States were Parties. Even then it was apparent that the Convention had received an overwhelming vote of confidence from the international community. The second edition of Diplomatic Law is being completed thirty-three years after the Convention's entry into force and 177 States are Parties. This is close to the entire number of independent States in the world. The Vienna Convention has become a universal Convention, and its provisions, even where at the time of their adoption they clearly marked progressive development of custom or resolved points where practice conflicted, are now regarded as settled law.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations has also continued to be used as a point of reference in the development of related areas of international law. Many of its provisions were adopted, with appropriate modifications, in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and cases on the construction of particular phrases in one of the two related Conventions are often cited as authorities in the context of the other. With very few modifications, its provisions were adopted in the New York Convention on Special Missions. It has been used extensively to determine the treatment to be accorded to Heads of State in their personal capacity and to High Officers of and representatives to international organizations.

There are a number of reasons why the Vienna Convention has been so successful in winning both formal support and a remarkably high degree of observance. First, the rules of law codified in the Convention had long been stable. By the time they were described by Vattel in Le Droit des Gens, published in 1758, they had developed as far as they could without the assistance of international agreements, and they remained constant for the following two hundred years. Diplomatic law in a sense constitutes the procedural framework for the construction of international law and international relations. It guarantees the efficacy and security of the machinery through which States conduct diplomacy, and without this machinery States cannot construct law whether by custom or by agreement on matters of substance. It was therefore entirely natural that as the modern legal order of sovereign States grew up, the rules for the exchange and the treatment of envoys between them were the earliest to be firmly established as customary law. Subsequent developments in the functions of governments, the conduct of international relations, in trade, travel, and communications altered in only marginal respects the main functions of diplomatic missions--to represent the sending State and protect its . . .

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