In a new book on power and corruption, author Brian Klaas addresses the topic of how power changes a person’s behaviour. Klass is an associate professor (equivalent to an associate professor) of global politics at University College London and a columnist for the Washington Post.
in this book”Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us“Kallas provides examples of how some diplomats abuse their immunity when serving abroad. Kallas points to relatively harmless crimes such as parking violations and unpaid parking fines among diplomats stationed at the United Nations headquarters in cosmopolitan New York City. It is clear that there is a marked difference in the behavior of diplomats from social democracies and diplomats who represent regimes with a lot of corruption.
The worst kind of parasites
Klass writes that diplomatic signs on cars served for nearly a time as a free pass for improper parking without consequences in New York City. Although some diplomats stand in front of a stationary fire hydrant on the sidewalk, for example, which is strictly forbidden in the United States, they have escaped prosecution.
“In the five-year period from 1997 to 2002, UN diplomats were fined 150,000 unpaid parking fines — the equivalent of more than eight fines a day. That amounted to $18 million,” Kallas wrote. the book.
Rude and understanding diplomats’ disrespect for local parking rules has led to great frustration among Manhattan’s top politicians. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani tried in vain to force diplomats to pay their parking fines in 1997 by referring to them as “the worst kind of parasite”. Giuliani also threatened diplomats, who have more than $230 in parking fines pending, to recall their cars and possibly force them to sell them.
But it was the Caliph who removed the parking chaos.
Parking bullets hit hard
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally got enough in 2002, definitively sure that diplomats would have consequences for their incorrect stance.
The Bloomberg administration has implemented the “three chances and you’re done” rule, which means that any diplomatic vehicle with three unpaid parking fines will lose its diplomatic license plates. By October 2002, Manhattan’s Wild West had ended with illegal Diplomatic Street parking. And to make it clear that there was a new mayor in the city, diplomatic signals granted privately in 30 countries were separated within two months,” Klass writes.
Two researchers from Boston University and Berkeley University, Ray Fisman and Edward Miguel, respectively, decided to analyze data from the parking boom of UN diplomats to see if any pattern had formed. Klass refers to this studies In the book, he wrote that much could indicate a causal relationship between personal behavior, culture and context.
“Diplomats from countries such as Sweden, Norway and Japan did not have any unpaid parking fines during this five-year period. Although they could have escaped, they still chose to follow the rules. At the other end of the scale, Kuwaiti diplomats scored an average of 249 parking offenses per diplomat. The other nine countries in the top 10 were typical strongholds of corruption such as Egypt, Chad, Sudan, Bulgaria, Mozambique, Albania, Angola, Senegal and Pakistan. It is clear that cultures characterized by corruption had a significant impact on individual behavior.”
The author points out the countries that also score very poorly in the Corruption Index of the Global Alliance against Corruption, Transparency International.
“Individuals who represent corrupt regimes are more susceptible to corruption. There are very big differences between how Venezuela, for example, is represented at the United Nations and how Norway is represented. It’s quite obvious! Venezuelan diplomats can be promoted for behavior for which Norwegian diplomats can be expelled.”
a garde Diplomatique
Diplomatic immunity (extraterritorial law) is the right to be independent from the laws and more so in the country in which one resides.
From the rule that the state has jurisdiction over every person residing in the state, exceptions apply to persons with extraterritorial law under international law. As a general rule, such persons may not be prosecuted in state courts or held responsible for crimes, and are subject to the law of their country of origin in matters of personal law; They are exempt from taxes and personal duties and with some restrictions also indirect taxes such as customs and sales tax (Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961).
Persons entitled, according to customary international law or the provisions of special treaties, to be subject to extraterritorial law, are first and foremost:
a) strangers heads of state During temporary residence in another country with companions and servants.
b) a foreign country diplomat Representation, its chief and other members with the family and servants, so long as they are not nationals of the receiving state. The residence of the station manager (the Minister’s Hotel) and official offices enjoy special protection. The police can’t penetrate there.
c) Army and Air Force teams residing in another country and crews of warships in foreign ports.
d) Delegates and officials of the United Nations, specialized agencies and a number of other international organizations and institutions.
Treaty-based extraterritorial law may be absolute or somewhat limited. The purpose of the rules of international law on extraterritorial law, which is of particular practical importance in relation to diplomacy, is partly to prevent international frictions and conflicts, and partly to ensure that international organizations and envoys of foreign countries can perform their functions safely and without interference from the authorities of the receiving state.
source: Norsk Lexicon Store
Law-abiding diplomats also changed their behavior
But Klass writes that researchers Wiesmann and Miguel noted how law-abiding diplomats from noncorrupt countries gradually took greater freedom with street parking before Bloomberg began seriously enforcing parking tickets in 2002.
“In the period before the imposition of this law, diplomats from pure countries tended to park illegally more often the longer they stayed in New York. As they became accustomed to the lack of enforcement, the temptation to imitate the behavior of diplomats from corrupt countries increased. So the culture What you say, but it also has consequences,” Klass writes.
Bloomberg’s tight grip on the untamed parking lot of diplomats has yielded immediate results, among the worst. The average fine imposed by Kuwaiti diplomats for unpaid parking spaces was quickly reduced to 250 per diplomat, to 0.15. The same goes for diplomats from Egypt and Chad, who ranked second and third among the worst.
according to Vienna Convention Diplomats and their family members are immune from prosecution in the host country. However, the home country may waive diplomatic immunity.
Diplomats have survived strange crimes
Newspaper New York Post He listed in an article a number of strange crimes that diplomats had committed, but they still escaped prosecution due to diplomatic immunity.
A diplomat from Barbados claimed in 1975 that his dog (German Shepherd), which had bitten several neighbors in New York, was protected from prosecution because the dog also had diplomatic immunity – which the diplomat won.
An Ecuadorean diplomat escaped prosecution when he smuggled 40 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to New York in 2012.
In 1984, six Iranian diplomats slaughtered a sheep in an open street in London, but due to their diplomatic immunity, British police authorities could not prosecute them for animal cruelty.
In 1982, Congolese (and then Zaire) diplomats refused to pay an outstanding rent of $400,000 for an apartment in Manhattan. The diplomats justified this on the grounds that they had diplomatic immunity and left the country without paying.
In 1984, Nigerian diplomats are exposed as they attempt to kidnap an exiled Nigerian and former minister living in London. Diplomats tried to take him out of the country in a transport box marked “Diplomatic Transfer”.
The most famous case at present is the wife of an American diplomat who fled the UK after riding a motorbike at the age of 19 in 2019. The 19-year-old died as a result of the accident.
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