Does a diplomat’s data enjoy the same protection as his printed archive? What about the protection of diplomatic communication via the Internet? These will be the main underlying questions discussed by DiploFoundation’s Director, Dr Jovan Kurbalija, during the seminar on ‘Diplomatic immunities in the digital era’ in Geneva.
The seminar will first introduce participants to diplomatic immunities and privileges through the analysis of relevant case studies and the presentation of the existing legal sources. The discussion will then consider whether diplomatic immunities also apply online. The consideration will be twofold. On the one hand, the legal basis for such ‘e-immunities’ will be addressed. Based on which set of rules could we maintain that the digital assets of countries and diplomats enjoy the same diplomatic protection as their physical ones? Attention will be paid to whether (and to what extent) existing diplomatic law can apply to cyberspace, and which part of diplomatic law is relevant for the Internet (e.g. free communication, inviolability of correspondence and archives).
On the other hand, once argued that such rules apply to the Internet as well, it will be considered how their application can be reasonable and proportionate. First, the scope of diplomatic immunities must be considered, namely, whether they apply universally. Second, the question of the arising responsibility of governments in ensuring ‘e-immunities’ must be reflected on – considering that under public international law, responsibility is purely a state attribute, i.e. legal action on immunities against private companies cannot be taken.
For more information, and to register for the event, visit the Junior Diplomat Initiative webpage.