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Inviolability of the Archives

From: Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (4th Edition)

Eileen Denza

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 30 March 2023

Diplomatic immunity — Diplomatic missions — Diplomatic relations — Armed conflict — Armed attack

This chapter considers Article 24 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which deals with the inviolability of the archives. Article 24 states that the archives and documents of the diplomatic mission shall be inviolable at any time and wherever they may be. In essence, the Article highlights the protection of confidential information. The chapter describes the developments made by the International Law Commission and the Vienna Conference to extend the principle of inviolability of archives and documents. The expression ‘inviolable’ was chosen by the Commission to convey both that the receiving State must abstain from any interference through its own authorities and that it owes a duty of protection of the archives in respect of unauthorized interference by others. Secondly, the Vienna Conference added the words ‘at any time’ in order to make clear that inviolability continued without interruption on the breaking of diplomatic relations or in the event of armed conflict.

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