Diplomatic immunity

18.03.2016. 15:13

The term ‘immunity’ in the broadest sense covers both inviolability and immunity from jurisdiction. Inviolability means that the Latvian Government may not take any such measures as the arrest and remand in custody of individuals, forced access to and seizure of buildings, and seizure of goods. Immunity from jurisdiction means that Latvian courts are not competent to hear disputes where the defendant enjoys immunity from criminal or civil jurisdiction.

At the same time, Diplomatic missions and consular posts, their staff and their families must respect the law of the Republic of Latvia. Article 41, section 1 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, reads:

“Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State”.

A diplomatic agent, and his family members who are part of his or her household, enjoy immunity from Latvian jurisdiction as specified in the Vienna Convention. So do the administrative and technical staff, and their family members. However, if family members are engaged in profitable activities in Latvia they do not enjoy immunity in connection with such activities.