Friday, March 03, 2006

Internet child pornographer gets diplomatic immunity?

The Argentine newspaper Clarin reported that following a request from Interpol Department of the German Police, the Argentine Federal Police with a warrant issued by the District Court No 48 tried to search premises from where child pornography video were offered via Internet. Once there, the Police group was confronted by the suspect with the fact that he, as military attache to the Bolivian Embassy, had diplomatic immunity as established in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. The judge of the case, correctly following current law, understood that she lacked jurisdiction to proceed with the case, and the prosecutor sent it to to the Argentine Supreme Court. Once there, the Supreme Court started the procedures to request the waive of immunity as established in the Art. 32 of the mentioned Convention. But isn't it too late? Child pornography is such a heinous crime that states should be allowed to use any means within its powers to combat it. By using his diplomatic immunity, the person who allegedly committed that crime has already left Argentine jurisdiction and it is also possible that using the diplomatic bag the physical evidence might have been removed, so following the aforementioned Convention the relations with Bolivia are safe...and the kids?
There is no much to discuss about the importance of the institute of diplomatic immunity, but, as with many other issues involving the use of new technologies, some principles need to be reviewed. The barrier that diplomatic immunity presents might also result in the suspect escaping prosecution completely, specially due to the destruction of evidence that the time granted while following the procedures established in Vienna would permit. Having been always a constitutional guarantist, it is difficult to propose that some procedural rules be expedited against a suspect, but it seems reasonable that in the case of child pornography and/or pedophilia in Internet speed to get the evidence should have preeminence.


alice said...

My theme at the moment is diplomatic immunity and IP rights.
Just started a log on litigation between a software start up and an international diplomatic body (whom we allege are corrupt .. no surprises).

alice said...

sorry that should be

feneuk said...

Well, if the case is about a copyright infringement by the entity with diplomatic immunity, the criminal bits may be more difficult than the civil ones, where cases like Argentina v Weltover (US Supreme Court, only as persuasive authority) could help.

Rojario said...

That is the height of tactfulness to cover a crime like this. I have read about an employee of a foreign consulate who also was covered under diplomatic immunity. Irrespective of their job status, they should just be thrown away of the country.