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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 11:59   #1
JonnyBGood
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Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Diplomatic immunity

While I am well aware of the origins of the diplomatic immunity concept in Europe's fairly dark nationalistic history the fact that these men will see no justice for what happened to them really distresses me. You have a tyrannical government in power using inhuman methods to extract information from suspects*. We are not talking of some plot to allow us to imprison the ambassador from a country we dislike. However it would set a dangerous precedent. I'm sure very few of us would like to see Mahmoud Ahmadinejad putting Carmen Electra on trial for getting her kit off. That said we are all signatories of the UN charter of human rights, surely there is some legal standpoint from which to approach cases like these without the blanket clause of "diplomatic immunity".









*and it's called the USA am i rite?
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 12:04   #2
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Innocent British civilians have been tortured in a foreign country.

We've gone to war for less than that before
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 12:47   #3
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

I was under the impression that diplomatic immunity didnt make you above all law, indeed you could still be held accountable under law from your original country, though i must admit i dont actually know (yahwe dont hurt me ).

At the very least, individuals with diplomatic immunity could be still be sent out of the country - countries always have that right.
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 13:10   #4
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

This is what this thread and said news report reminded me of
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 13:45   #5
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

The problem isnt diplomatic immunity as such - it serves the purpose of allowing civilised countries to negotiate without fearing for their embassies. The problem is that Saudi Arabia is not a civilised country, and shouldn't be treated as if it were. Extendint diplomatic immunity to SA is wholly unnecessary.

Having said that, I'm not a fan of immunity anyway. A more reasonable solution would be to formally agree on a list of crimes officials can be held accountable for (murder, rape, etc) and make exceptions for these. I believe that this is often what happens in practice anyway, with some countries (eg) waiving immunity if theyre diplomat does something that's obviously stupid. But in any case, there is no justification for extending immunity to countries whose officials are likely to abuse it - if a country isnt relatively respectful of human rights domestically, there is no reason for believing its representatives will be either. The same considerations apply to the Geneva convention, and all other pieces of international law which were perhaps originally intended to be agreements between relative equals, but have since been extended to cover other countries regardless of their actual policies.

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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 19:10   #6
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

This has nothing to do with Diplomatic Immunity

What it is about is whether this act http://www.law.berkeley.edu/faculty/...s/rp04038.html contravenes this act http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/19980042.htm (the house decided that it did not)

I haven't read the judgement but I am not surprised at the decision.

If any of you want to read the judgement it it is here http://www.publications.parliament.u...14/jones-1.htm

EDIT: all 5 law lords were in agreement which is usually a pretty good indication that the decision was a good one
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 19:21   #7
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

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The guy on the right looks like a fat version of my Uncle Ken!
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 20:01   #8
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe

EDIT: all 5 law lords were in agreement which is usually a pretty good indication that the decision was a good one

Good? Or 'correct'?
I don't think there is much good in this judgement.
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 20:19   #9
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

The issue was a question of state immunity not of diplomatic immunity. Basicly the concept is that you can't sue the government without its permission. This concept is extended to agents of the state who are acting on the state's behalf.

The plaintiffs were denied the right to sue for money. There was never a question of any criminal liability.
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 20:38   #10
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Why can't they sue the state for money? Has nobody ever been wrongfully imprisoned and felt they deserved something for the wasted years of their life before?
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 20:41   #11
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

It was a idea that was thought up by kings and it has to do with the concept of soverignty. It you sue in the name of the king it is difficult to sue the king. Most governments have enjoyed the concept so much that they have adopted it even though they were sans royalty (i.e. USA). However, the soverign can ALLOW you to sue if, when and under the conditions which it determines are fitting.
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 20:49   #12
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

My proposition is that that way of thinking is outdated and rather immoral.
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Unread 14 Jun 2006, 23:35   #13
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyBGood
My proposition is that that way of thinking is outdated and rather immoral.
he was being slightly perverse in relating it back to Kings.

There is an international treaty which all (probably there are exceptions such as the 'republic of wallanificania' but essantially all) nations have signed saying that each nation's domestic courts will not entertain actions against other nation states.

so the US courts will not allow US citizens to sue The United Kingdom, German courts will not allow Germans to sue China etc. etc. et al.

Each signitary nation then enacts that treaty as part of it's domestic law. In the UK that is the 1978 State Immunity Act (the one I linked to)

All of this is essential for diplomacy to thrive.

this particular rather silly case was about whether the treaty (as enshrined in statute) was incompatible with the human rights act.

Diplomacy is never out-dated. Morality is a luxury granted only to historians.
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Unread 15 Jun 2006, 09:14   #14
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
Diplomacy is never out-dated. Morality is a luxury granted only to historians.
No dear, morality is what separates us from the torturers. Morality is the reason we can have lawyers and diplomats.
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Unread 15 Jun 2006, 13:51   #15
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

We (UK) could have given them a decent package and still saved money against all those rulings.
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Unread 15 Jun 2006, 14:17   #16
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephor
We (UK) could have given them a decent package and still saved money against all those rulings.
I doubt this was entirely (or even mostly) about money.
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Unread 15 Jun 2006, 20:16   #17
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyBGood
No dear, morality is what separates us from the torturers. Morality is the reason we can have lawyers and diplomats.
no.

lawyers and diplomats are the reason that you can have morals.
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Unread 16 Jun 2006, 11:49   #18
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
no.

lawyers and diplomats are the reason that you can have morals.
Evopsych
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 02:20   #19
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

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Originally Posted by JonnyBGood
thanks to diplomats and lawyers idiots are free to type rubbish like that.
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 13:50   #20
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
thanks to diplomats and lawyers idiots are free to type rubbish like that.
I can see this type of entirely unsupported argument becoming popular in the future.
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 14:00   #21
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

you should buy shares in it then
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 16:12   #22
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
you should buy shares in it then
No, it's okay I realised we can mindlessly revise even further and I'm claiming nobody would exist without soldiers so I'm buying shares in the military-industrial complex. I think it's the right way forward for all of us.
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 16:29   #23
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

I'm sure you know best.

You certainly seem to think you do.
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 16:35   #24
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Dismissive sarcastic response #17.
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 18:01   #25
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

The next time you need help understanding the law I'm sure i'll be very keen to spend my time helping you out
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Unread 17 Jun 2006, 20:17   #26
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Exclamation Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

This thread made me want to shoot a South African.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 01:23   #27
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
The next time you need help understanding the law I'm sure i'll be very keen to spend my time helping you out
Dismissive sarcastic response #17.2
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 01:34   #28
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

insults using algorithyms, i like it.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 02:56   #29
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyBGood
Isn't morality bound up in (free) choice? Now, I just know we're going to start quoting Hume soon, but doesn't a biologically controlled response rather contradict any meaningful conception of morality? Does the author mean to argue against moral choice all together?

PS. I didn't read much further than the 'bat revelation', but thought we might as well discuss.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 02:58   #30
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogster
Isn't morality bound up in (free) choice? Now, I just know we're going to start quoting Hume soon, but doesn't a biologically controlled response rather contradict any meaningful conception of morality? Does the author mean to argue against moral choice all together?

PS. I didn't read much further than the 'bat revelation', but thought we might as well discuss.
A monotheist is nit-picking over freedom of choice.

how curious.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 03:15   #31
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IncubusGod
Good? Or 'correct'?
I don't think there is much good in this judgement.
(i'm sorry I missed this post)

What do you disagree with?
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 03:27   #32
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahwe
A monotheist is nit-picking over freedom of choice.

how curious.
Not quite sure I'm with you, dear.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 03:29   #33
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogster
Not quite sure I'm with you, dear.
monotheistic religions have an inherent difficulty with pre-destination and free will.

my mistake was assuming that you bothered to try to understand the religion you belong to.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 10:52   #34
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogster
Isn't morality bound up in (free) choice? Now, I just know we're going to start quoting Hume soon, but doesn't a biologically controlled response rather contradict any meaningful conception of morality? Does the author mean to argue against moral choice all together?
From what I remember most evo-psych types go along with an idea of free-will being an illusion that conscious beings have developed along with our intellect. So basically the decision process is taking place at the biological level (this is a truism I guess) but this is abstracted away from our consciousness. In a similar sort of way Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) makes the point that when you put your hand on a hot stove you move it back instantly (the nerve impulse simply travels to your spine, not your brain) but if asked to recount the experience some individuals might say they felt it being hot and therefore moved their hand back - their memory is effectively their minds interpretation of events, not the actual events (this is a much weaker point since I doubt many people would say that, but you can get the general point he's making). In general, the evo-psychs take a dim view of free will (although not all of them).

More generally though, I'd say morality underpins all structures of human behaviour. So a law is developed over years, possibly from earlier customs or rituals or whatever. But at it's essence rules generally seem to reflect some idea of fairness or reasonableness - not just raw utility. We punish people who have done wrong not just to stop future wrong action but because justice, in some sense, demands it.

In that sense, I don't really see what difference (to an outside observer) it would make whether our responses were "pre-programmed" (albeit in a staggeringly complicated way) or not to this conception of fairness. If the evo-psyches are right that (say) this "punishment reflex" is biologically common to all humans in some sense would that make any difference?

On the earlier argument, I don't really see what the issue is. If we didn't have laws or diplomats (or society more generally) it's very possible that instability would reign to the point where pontification about morality would be meaningless. At the same time, our laws (and societal structure generally) reflects our morality in the first place.
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Unread 18 Jun 2006, 13:35   #35
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Re: Remember the South African guy in Lethal Weapon II?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogster
Isn't morality bound up in (free) choice? Now, I just know we're going to start quoting Hume soon, but doesn't a biologically controlled response rather contradict any meaningful conception of morality? Does the author mean to argue against moral choice all together?
I'm not sure what more we could be than the unique sum of our genes and experience. As such I find being told my morality is controlled by my biology one step short of being told that my morality is controlled by my brain. Well "duh", what else was I going to think with?


PS Also after dante's humbling last paragraph I'd like to offer my sincere apologies to yahwe!
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