• Laws around Rules of diplomatic immunity were put into action by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity in 1961. These laws were created so that Diplomats could not be threatened by foreign governments.
  • “Believing that an international convention on diplomatic intercourse, privileges and immunities
  • Would contribute to the development of friendly relations among nations, irrespective of their differing
  • Constitutional and social systems” (Vienna convention on Diplomatic immunity 1961)
  • Diplomatic immunity is now seen as customary law in many nations.

Key Legal Issues

The legal issues around diplomatic immunity are how far it should reach. In the case of Andrei Knyazev, he avoided taking a breathalyser because of his immunity and there for there was no evidence to convict him of driving under the influence. There are also cases of family members of a diplomate getting away with shocking crimes because immunity applies to them too. In the case of Knyazev, he was tried for manslaughter not first degree murder which causes a problem in the system and displays the legal issues of diplomatic immunity.


The most prevalent case in Canadian history evolving diplomatic immunity, is when Andrei Knyazev ran over two women in Ottawa on Jan,27. 2001, killing one and seriously injuring the other. Police requested Knyazev to take a breathalyser test, but he refused, which he had the right to do due to his diplomatic immunity. The Canadian government requested that the Russian government waived Knyazev’s immunity so he could be tried in Canada, however the Russian government blocked that request and brought him back to Russia to stand trial. Where he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years imprisonment.