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Friday, February 25, 2011

Facts belie 4,000-word US arguments in Davis case

ISLAMABAD: The United States pins all its hopes on its Islamabad embassy’s Jan 20, 2010 notification to the Pakistan Foreign Office to win the required immunity for Raymond Davis, conveniently ignoring all the hard facts that go against Washington.
Is Davis a diplomat or is US faking it to hide its involvement in Terrorism?

The US insists that the US embassy’s notification showing Davis as a member of its technical and administration staff suffices to qualify him to absolute diplomatic immunity and that the Pakistan government never disputed his status.
Going over the 4000-word background briefing on diplomatic immunity given in a question-answer teleconference call (text released by Washington) jointly by PJ Crowley and an unnamed senior administration official, who was a law expert, it becomes clear that the US is firmly sticking to the Jan 20, 2010 notification and is not concerned that Davis’s name was not included in the list of 48 employees, both diplomats and non-diplomats, forwarded by the US embassy to the Foreign Office on Jan 25, 2011 for the issuance of relevant diplomatic identity cards.
The briefing took no note of the fact that the embassy inserted Davis’s name in the revised list sent to the Pakistan government on Jan 28, a day after he killed two Pakistanis in cold blood.
It ignored the changing statements of the US embassy and Lahore consulate about Davis’s attachment after he had committed the heinous crime, as the senior official said his notification was given by the embassy and that’s the controlling fact.
People can move around, but their status is determined by how they are originally notified under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, as Davis was, the official said adding that if Ambassador Munter went to the consulate, his status would not change.
Here too Washington ignored the Pakistani law, which though enacted to implement the Vienna Conventions made it mandatory that only the foreign office’s certificate would be treated as conclusive evidence to determine if somebody enjoys immunity or not. No such certificate was ever issued in the case of the Davis, who was also never given diplomatic identity card by the Foreign Ministry.
The US insistence emerging from the briefing is that it’s well-established that the status of the member of the mission is determined by what the sending state does. “The whole point of the law is that you don’t look behind the notification. If – once someone has been notified and they assume these privileges and immunities, if the receiving state is unhappy for some reason, they can declare the person not acceptable and they can leave, but they have no other remedies,” the official said.
He said they can say he’s not acceptable. They have not done that, he added. The official said that it happens all the time. “When people come into post, we send them a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we describe someone as head of mission, a member of the diplomatic staff, or a member of the staff of the diplomatic mission. And he was notified as a member of the administrative and technical staff of American Embassy Islamabad. That was on January 20th, 2010.”
The Vienna Convention, the official said, envisions a number of routes, but the primary route is the one that Washington is pursuing here, which is bilateral conversation with the party that has originally acknowledged his status as a member of the diplomatic mission. This happens virtually all the time. It rarely goes to a court. In virtually no case does it go to any other body.
He said that there’s a long diplomatic history of 99 percent of the cases are resolved through diplomatic negotiation. “You can also refer the case to the International Court of Justice, as was done in the Iranian hostages case in 1979.”
He thought that Pakistan’s counter-argument is that Davis is not properly listed under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “And we’ve given a diplomatic note which notifies him to the Foreign Ministry as a member of the administrative and technical staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. So I haven’t seen the counter-argument.”
Source: The News

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