It's not as if there aren't other things going on in the world - as I type this it is being reported that Hosni Mubarak has resigned as head of the ruling party in Egypt - but the case of Raymond Davis is just so interesting. So here's one more bit of news to add to that already compiled by Diplopundit.
Dawn, which is Pakistan's oldest English-language newspaper and the Pakistani counterpart to the WaPo in that it is the first choice for officials who wish to leak info or launch trial balloons, has some non-attributable quotes today about the Pakistani Foreign Office's position on the matter of Davis's diplomatic immunity.
Dawn had earlier run the above photo of the visa that was placed in Davis's passport by the Pakistani embassy in Washington in December of 2009, and which was later extended several times by the Foreign Office in Islamabad. Note that the purpose of the visit is listed as "Official Business" and the visa number is preceded by "CD" for Corps Diplomatique. So far, so good.
But did the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad register Davis with the Foreign Office as a member of its technical and administrative staff? The answer is a big MAYBE.
According to Dawn's unnamed senior officials, the embassy notified the FO in January of 2010 that Davis was a member of its technical and administrative staff, and the FO "did not issue a disagreement note." They did not reply at all, and that left the embassy with an expectation that Davis was registered with the FO when, in fact, he may not have been.
Here are the key parts of the story (Experts start consultations on status of Davis):
“The Foreign Office’s legal division and the government’s law and justice division have started consultations on the matter,” a senior official disclosed to Dawn a day after the US embassy through a diplomatic note urged the Pakistan government to issue a certificate on the status of Raymond Davis.
According to Pakistan’s Diplomatic and Consular Privileges Act of 1972, the government, in case of a dispute over privileges and immunities of someone working for a foreign mission, has to issue a certification which will be deemed as “conclusive evidence of that fact”.
-- snip --
A few slip-ups by Pakistani officials while dealing with Davis’ notification and subsequent registration request are quite obvious. His posting in Pakistan was notified in January last year. However, the FO did not issue a disagreement note, rather there was apparently no reply. The US embassy is now claiming Davis’s immunity on the basis of that notification.
However, when the embassy submitted his registration request queries cropped up and these were communicated to it, which remained unresolved to date. Resultantly, Davis hasn’t been registered as yet.
But the US embassy maintained that the FO registration was irrelevant for the immunities guaranteed under the Vienna Convention. Moreover, the Pakistani officials agreed that they took too long to decide on Davis’ registration case.
There are also problems on the American side. The US had filed two applications for Davis’s registration — one for the Lahore Consulate and the other for the Islamabad Embassy. Which one of these requests ultimately holds would determine which Vienna Convention — the one on diplomatic relations (1961) or that on consular relations (1963) — would apply to Davis if he were to be ultimately granted immunity.
But the decisive factor in the case, even if the Pakistan government agrees to give limited immunity, would be a determination of the fact whether the act of fatally shooting the two alleged muggers occurred during the course of his duties.
At least for now no one is ready to speak on what Davis was doing in Mozang, Lahore, which has no diplomatic activity whatsoever.
The Vienna Convention’s Article 37 states: “…. the immunity from civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving State specified in paragraph 1 of article 31 shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their duties.”
An official privy to some initial legal consultations said Davis by no stretch of imagination qualified for full immunity.
The US embassy is, however, adamant that Davis is entitled to full criminal immunity and cannot be lawfully arrested or detained.
Can a nation unilaterally declare an employee to be a member of its diplomatic staff despite the absence of agreement by the receiving nation?