Diplomatic immunity

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws, although they may still be expelled. Modern diplomatic immunity was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, ratified by all but a handful of nations; the concept and custom of diplomatic immunity dates back thousands of years. Many principles of diplomatic immunity are now considered to be customary law. Diplomatic immunity was developed to allow for the maintenance of government relations, including during periods of difficulties and armed conflict; when receiving diplomats, who formally represent the sovereign, the receiving head of state grants certain privileges and immunities to ensure they may carry out their duties, on the understanding that these are provided on a reciprocal basis. These privileges and immunities were granted on a bilateral, ad hoc basis, which led to misunderstandings and conflict, pressure on weaker states, an inability for other states to judge which party was at fault.

An international agreement known as the Vienna Convention codified the rules and agreements, providing standards and privileges to all states. It is possible for the official's home country to waive immunity. However, many countries refuse to waive immunity as a matter of course. Alternatively, the home country may prosecute the individual. If immunity is waived by a government so that a diplomat can be prosecuted, it must be because there is a case to answer and it is in the public interest to prosecute them. For instance, in 2002, a Colombian diplomat in London was prosecuted for manslaughter, once diplomatic immunity was waived by the Colombian government; the concept of diplomatic immunity can be found in ancient Indian epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, where messengers and diplomats were given immunity from capital punishment. In Ramayana, when the demon king Ravana ordered the killing of Hanuman, Ravana's younger brother Vibhishana pointed out that messengers or diplomats should not be killed, as per ancient practices.

During the evolution of international justice, many wars were considered rebellions or unlawful by one or more combatant sides. In such cases, the servants of the "criminal" sovereign were considered accomplices and their persons violated. In other circumstances, harbingers of inconsiderable demands were killed as a declaration of war. Herodotus records that when heralds of the Persian king Xerxes demanded "earth and water" of Greek cities, the Athenians threw them into a pit and the Spartans threw them down a well for the purpose of suggesting they would find both earth and water at the bottom, these being mentioned by the messenger as a threat of siege; however for Herodotus, this maltreatment of envoys is a crime. He recounts a story of divine vengeance befalling Sparta for this deed. A Roman envoy was urinated on; the oath of the envoy, "This stain will be washed away with blood!", was fulfilled during the Second Punic War. The arrest and ill-treatment of the envoy of Raja Raja Chola by the king of Kulasekhara dynasty, now part of modern India, led to the naval Kandalur War in AD 994.

The Islamic prophet Muhammad sent and received envoys and forbade harming them. This practice was continued by the Rashidun caliphs who exchanged diplomats with the Ethiopians and the Byzantines; this diplomatic exchange continued during the Arab–Byzantine wars. Classical Sharia called for hospitality to be shown towards anyone, granted amān. Amān was granted to any emissary bearing a letter or another sealed document; the duration of the amān was a year. Envoys with this right of passage were given immunity of property, they were exempt from taxation. As diplomats by definition enter the country under safe conduct, violating them is viewed as a great breach of honor, although there have been numerous cases in which diplomats have been killed. Genghis Khan and the Mongols were well known for insisting on the rights of diplomats, they would take terrifying vengeance against any state that violated these rights; the Mongols would raze entire cities in retaliation for the execution of their ambassadors, invaded and destroyed the Khwarezmid Empire after their ambassadors had been mistreated.

The British Parliament first guaranteed diplomatic immunity to foreign ambassadors in 1709, after Count Andrey Matveyev, a Russian resident in London, had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse by British bailiffs. Modern diplomatic immunity evolved parallel to the development of modern diplomacy. In the 17th century, European diplomats realized that protection from prosecution was essential to doing their jobs, a set of rules evolved guaranteeing the rights of diplomats; these were still confined to Western Europe and were tied to the prerogatives of nobility. Thus, an emissary to the Ottoman Empire could expect to be arrested and imprisoned upon the outbreak of hostilities between his state and the empire; the French Revolution disrupted this system, as the revolutionary state and Napoleon imprisoned

St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor

St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor is a 2007 Italian television movie written and directed by Giacomo Campiotti; the film is based on real life events of doctor and Roman Catholic Saint Giuseppe Moscati. Upon graduation from medical school, an idealistic young doctor starts working in a hospital, in impoverished 1906 Naples, he comes to the conclusion that the practice of medicine when involving poor patients, needs a lot more compassion. He finds himself devoting his life to helping those in need the destitute, with his skills and empathy; when a beautiful princess becomes infatuated with him, the challenge arises on how to make room for a relationship in a life, first and foremost devoted to public service. The doctor's life story, followed through the rise of fascism a couple of decades is contrasted with the different life path followed by a friend of his with whom he had completed medical school. Giuseppe Fiorello as Giuseppe Moscati Ettore Bassi as Giorgio Piromallo Kasia Smutniak as Elena Cajafa Paola Casella as Cloe Emanuela Grimalda as Sister Helga Giorgio Colangeli as Professor De Lillo Antonella Stefanucci as Nina Moscati Carmine Borrino as Umberto St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor on IMDb


Galvarino was a famous Mapuche warrior during the majority of the early part of the Arauco War. He fought and was taken prisoner along with one hundred and fifty other Mapuche, in the Battle of Lagunillas against governor García Hurtado de Mendoza; as punishment for insurrection, some of these prisoners were condemned to amputation of their right hand and nose, while others such as Galvarino had both hands cut off. Galvarino and the rest were released as a lesson and warning for the rest of the Mapuche. Mendoza sent him to inform general Caupolicán of the number and quality of the people which had entered their land again, to put some fear into him, among other means that were tried, so that he might submit without coming to blows; when returning to the Mapuche he appeared before Caupolicán and the council of war, showing them his mutilations, crying out for justice and a greater rising of the Mapuche against this Spanish invader like the one of Lautaro. For his bravery and gallantry he was named by the council to command a squadron.

With knives fastened on both mutilated wrists replacing his hands he fought next to Caupolicán in the following campaign until the Battle of Millarapue where his squadron fought against that of governor Mendoza himself where he was able to strike down the number two in command. He came commanding as a sergeant and animating his men this way: "Ea, my brothers, see that you all fight well, you do not want be as I am without hands, so that you will not be able to work nor to eat, if you do not give it to them!" And he raised those arms on high, showing them to cause them to fight with more spirit and saying to them: "Those that you are going to fight with cut them, will do to whichever of you they take, nobody is allowed to flee but to die, because you die defending your mother country". He moved ahead of the squadron a distance, said with a loud voice that he would die first and though he no longer had hands, that he would do what he could with his teeth. Jerónimo de Vivar, Crónica, Capítulo CXXXIII.

"My Brothers, why have you stopped attacking these Christians, seeing the manifest damage that from the day which they entered our kingdom until today they have done and are doing? And they still will do to you what you see that they have done and they are doing? And still they will do to you what you see that they have done to me, cut your hands off, if you are not diligent in making the most of wreaking destruction on these so injurious people for us and or our children and women". Pedro Mariño de Lobera, Crónica del Reino de Chile, Libro 2 Capítulo IV However Mendoza's command broke Galvarino's division after over an hour of combat and won the battle killing three thousand Indians, captured more than eight hundred including him. Mendoza ordered him to be executed by being thrown to the dogs. In the book La Araucana, written by Alonso de Ercilla, he explains that the real death of Galvarino was by hanging. Jerónimo de Vivar, Crónica y relación copiosa y verdadera de los reinos de Chile ARTEHISTORIA REVISTA DIGITAL.

Edición digital a partir de Crónicas del Reino de Chile Madrid, Atlas, 1960, pp. 227-562. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes Libro 2, Capítulo II, III, IV