Exemption from Giving Evidence
- Diplomatic immunity — Diplomatic missions — Diplomatic relations — Witnesses
This chapter considers Article 31.2 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which states that a diplomatic agent is not obliged to give evidence as a witness during trial. Under customary international law a diplomat was immune from compulsion in regard to appearing or giving evidence as a witness but was probably not exempt from the legal obligation to do so if requested in proper terms. It should be noted that the exemption from the duty to give evidence is not limited by the exceptions to immunity from jurisdiction set out in Article 31.1(a), (b), and (c). It was emphasized that a diplomatic agent involved for whatever reason as plaintiff or as defendant in legal proceedings would always have a strong incentive to give evidence in order to win his case, but that the decision whether to permit him to do so should remain with the sending State.