Can ambassador Daniele Mancini hide behind the shield of diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention even after reneging on his undertaking in the Indian apex court on the Italian marines’ return?
Senior government functionaries said although it would be for the Supreme Court to interpret the legal provisions, only the Italian government could waive Mancini’s impunity.
The Vienna Convention says if a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity initiates a legal proceeding in a host country, he cannot claim immunity from the consequences of the legal proceeding. And as a petitioner in the case, the Italian ambassador is an initiator.
But for enforcing a contempt of court order, another provision in the convention comes into play, which says only the sending state — in this case, Italy — can waive the immunity of its diplomat in civil or administrative proceedings.