Introduction and Background
            Diplomacy is one of the most essential tools of foreign policy and international relations. Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting relations between representatives of states through accredited and officially recognized instruments or agents. In its true form, diplomacy is a form of contact or communication between two or more states with the sole aim of influencing, deterring, altering or reinforcing the views, actions, perceptions and behaviour of others. Communication is very vital in diplomacy and this is carried out through many ways and means. This may include press conferences, banquets, political rallies, round table conference, lectures and seminars and closed door meetings between officials and delegates.

            The world diplomat originated from the Greek word “diplum” which means a “message” that has to be taken from one independent city state to anther. The emergence of diplomatic heads led to the establishment of diplomatic missions. The congress of Vienna, 1815 settled the disagreement in the diplomatic community over the issue of recognition, protocols, privileges and precedence. The 1815 congress among other things recognised the equality of Ambassadors. There forth, diplomats became more and more professionalized in the conduct of international relations on a wide range of issues covering the areas of peace making, treaties and agreements, trade and economics, wars, politics, humanitarian issues and cultural matters. In both informal and social sense diplomacy involve to gain strategic advantage on one hand to find mutually acceptable solutions to common challenges facing states, on the other.
            States have many strategies and designs through which its facilitates its diplomatic activities in order to achieve the expected results. These are referred to as instruments of diplomacy. These instruments are many and varied and states employ them depending on their ability and resources in the international system. These instruments include political economic, military, psychological and information gathering/management.
Functions of Diplomats
Diplomacy have become so vital in modern international relations that according to John Rourke, nations and states have developed vested interest in diplomacy as the hallmark of international harmony, understanding, co-operation and global peace and security. The role of diplomacy in the international system involves a large measure of systematic intuitiveness and creativity. This extent, diplomacy is not a game for nitwits or the quermis. According to Alaba Ogunsanwo, a diplomat must possess extraordinary qualities to enable him succeed. A diplomatic must have a sharp mind, must be witty, knowledgeable, suave, urbane, intuitive and adaptable. He must have a sense of humour, ability to read and interpret data and reasonable communication skill.
            The principal function of the diplomat centres on negotiation, bargaining, lobbying, communication between governments and providing vital intelligence. However, the functions of the diplomat in the modern era have gone far beyond these traditional demands. Diplomats perform a feed back function between the home government and the host community. His duty also include the protection of his nationals and their property to ensure that they are not unduely disadvantaged. Diplomats also represent their home government at court ceremonies, social gatherings and other occasions that demanded the presence of their home governments. Naturally, diplomats act as conveyors of peace. When relations are strained, diplomats work round the clock to untie the knotty issues and provide reasonable avenue for contact. Diplomats also perform this function for third parties when their home states are not directly involved in the conflict.

Characteristics of a Diplomat
Types/ variant of Diplomacy

Evolution and growth of modern diplomacy
The origin of diplomacy has a long and chequered history. It is not an entirely modern development, could be traced back to the Greek city states, the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire to the Italian empires of the renaissance. The first embassy was established in the renaissance Italy in the 13th century. Milan played a leading role in establishing the root of modern diplomacy under Francesco Storza who established permanent embassies to the other city states of northern Italy. Tuscany and Vanice also became flourishing centres of diplomacy from the 1300s onwards. In the Roman emires, Ambassadorial appointment and terms of diplomacy were formalised. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine empire advanced to the extent of providing formal training for diplomats. It was in the Italian peninsula that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began to take shape such as the formal presentation of Ambassador Credentials to the head of state.
            From Italy, the practice spread to other European regions. Milan was the first sovereign to send a representative to France in 1455. Milan however refused to host French representatives for fear of espionage and the feeling that the French representatives may interfere in its internal affairs. As foreign powers such as France and Spain became increasingly involved in Italian politics, the need to accept emissaries and envoys was recognized. Summit meetings were also introduced as a form of diplomatic practice. Soon, the major European powers began to exchange representatives. Spain was the first to send a permanent representative when it appointed an Ambassador to the court of England in 1487. By the late 16th century, permanent missions became customary in most of Europe. The Holy Roman Emperor however did not regularly send permanent legates as they could not represent the interests of all the German Princes (who were in theory subordinate to the Emperor but in practice each independent).
            During this period the rules of modern diplomacy were further developed. The top rank of representatives was the Ambassador. At the time, an Ambassador must be an Aristocrat, and the rank of the noble was assigned varying with the prestige of the country he was delegated to. Strict standards were developed for Ambassadors requiring them to have large residence who lavished parties and play an important role in the court life of their host nations.
            Diplomacy was more complex affair then than it is now. The ambassador form each state ranked by complex levels of precedence and protocol which were often very much in dispute. States were normally ranked by the title “Sovereign”. For the Catholic nations, envoys from the Vatican were paramount, followed by those form the kingdoms, then those form the duchies and principalities.  Representatives form republics were ranked the lowest. This was a source of serious umbrage to the leaders of the numerous German Scandinavian and Italian republics. Determining precedence between two kingdom depended on a number of factors that often fluctuated leading to constant squabbling.
            Ambassadors and Nobles with little experience and no expectations of career in diplomacy had to be supported by large embassy staff. These professional undertook serious diplomatic assignments since they were far more knowledgeable than the high ranking officials about matters concerning the host country. Embassy staff would comprise a wide range of personnel some of them dedicated to espionage. The need for skilled individuals to staff embassies was met by graduates from universities and colleges creating a boost to the study of international law and related maters through out Europe.
            The elements of modern diplomacy slowly spread to eastern Europe and Russia by the early 18th century. The entire diplomatic structure was severely disrupted by the French revolution and the subsequent years of warfare. The revolution allowed for commoners to take over the diplomacy of the French state and those conquered by the revolutionary armies. Ranks and precedence became irrelevant. Napoleon also refused to acknowledge the principle of diplomatic immunity and imprisoned several British diplomats whom he accused of plotting against France. After the fall of Napoleon, the congress of Vienna, 1815 took far reaching measures to establish an effective and enduring international system of diplomatic relations.
Diplomatic Immunity
Diplomatic immunity is a sort of legal protection which largely exempts the diplomatic mission and personnel form the jurisdiction of the host state. Diplomatic immunity is a legal protective measure woven around the diplomatic persons and properties to shield them from undue interference from the host country and its agent. The aim is to guarantee the diplomats extensive privileges in the discharge of their responsibilities as long as such duties remain within an acceptable framework and the bounds of international law. Diplomatic immunity draws its strength on the basis of reciprocity because it is in the interest of every state to ensure the independence and security of her diplomatic institutions by guaranteeing same to others. This explains why the issue of diplomatic immunities has been one of the most successful and generally accepted aspects of international law.
            During the evolution stages of international justice, many wars were considered rebellions or unlawful by one or more combatant side. In such cases, the servant of the criminal sovereign were often considered accomplices and their persons violated. In other circumstances harbingers of inconsiderable demands were killed as a declaration of war. When Davies the Great, the king of Persia demanded “earth and water” from various cities, the Athenians threw the messengers into a pit while the Spartans threw than down a well stating that they would find both earth and water at the bottom. In 1538, king Francis I of France threatened Edmund Banner, the British Ambassador to the French court with a hundred strokes of harberd as punishment for Banner’s “insolent behaviour”.
            Modern diplomatic immunity evolved parallel to the development of modern diplomacy. In the 17th century, European diplomats realised that protection from prosecution and other distractions was essential to the successful performance of their duties. Thus, a set of rules were evolved aimed at guaranteeing the rights and privileges of diplomats. These rights however were still confined to western Europe and were closely tied to the prerogatives of nobility.
            The British parliament first guaranteed diplomatic immunity to foreign ambassadors in 1709 after Count Andrey Mativeyer, a Russian resident in London had been subjected to verbal and physical abuse by British bailiffs. Diplomats are received into the host country under safe conduct and violations of any type is normally viewed as a great breach of honour, even though there have been cases, most of them accidental, where diplomats had been subjected to undignified treatment or even killed.
            Genghins Khan and the Mongols were known for strongly insisting on the rights of diplomats. Often, they would take extreme measures to punish any state or group of that violated these rights. The Mongols have been known to raze entire cities to the ground in retaliation for the execution of their Ambassadors. In Islamic tradition, a messenger is not to be harmed even if coming from an enemy or bearing a high provocative and offensive message.
            The French revolution brought major set back to the growth of the diplomatic system. The revolutionary state under the leadership of Napoleon disputed the legitimacy and usefulness of diplomatic rights and privileges. Napoleon imprisoned a number of diplomats whom he accused of working against France.
            In the 19th century, the congress of Vienna reasserted the rights of diplomats and laid the foundation for modern diplomatic immunities and privileges. The congress of Vienna, 1814-1815 dealt on issues such as the French revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The conference, which was attended by the Ambassadors of European states, dominated by the big four – Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria became a model for the League of Nations and later the UN. The foundations of diplomatic practices established by the Congress of Vienna became largely accepted and respected far beyond Europe, as the principle and model spread throughout the world.
            Today, diplomatic immunity and other numerous issues concerning diplomatic relations as a whole are governed internationally by the Vienna convention (1961) on diplomatic relations. This convention has been ratified by almost every country in the world. Originally, diplomatic privileges and immunities were granted on a bilateral and adhoc basis, which led to misunderstanding and conflict. It brought pressure on weaker states and an inability for other states to judge which party was at fault.
            Many principles of diplomatic immunity are now considered to be customary law. Diplomatic immunity as an institution developed to allow for the maintenance of government relations, including during periods of difficulty and even armed conflict. During the Second World War, diplomatic immunity was upheld and the embassies evacuated through neutral countries. In periods of hostility and war, it is practicable to accept that some persons were immuned to the law. However, they were still bound by strict requirements of honour and custom.
            In modern times, diplomatic immunity continues to provide means to safeguard diplomatic personnel from any animosity that might arise between nations. The underlying principles has been and will continue to be this “we depend on other countries to honour our own diplomats immunity just as scrupulously as we hounour theirs”.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity
The Vienna convention, which came in force in 1964 emphasises the functional necessity of diplomatic principles and immunities in achieving efficiency in the conduct of international relations. These immunities also aim at underscoring the character and value of the diplomatic mission in representing its sovereign state. The Vienna convention is a set of international agreement codified into rules to provide standards and privileges to all states. Some of the privileges contained in the convention include the following;
a.         The premises of diplomatic mission are inviolate and agents of the host states are not to enter them without permission.
b.         The host state is under special obligation to protect the mission from intrusion, damage or assault to its dignity.
c.         The embassy car and other vehicles appropriately designated are inviolate. They are immunet from search, requisition.
d.         The diplomatic ponch is inviolate – diplomatic bags and packages cannot be opened, searched or detained at ports of entry or departure. Care must be taken here to balance between abuse and confidentiality.
e.         The person of the diplomatic courier is inviolate. He cannot be subjected to any form of arrest, detention or criminal prosecution in the exercise of his function.
f.          The mission premises is exempt from taxation.
g.         The archives and documents of the mission are inviolate at any time and wherever they may be.
h.         The person of the diplomatic agent is inviolable. He cannot be detained or arrested. This principle is the oldest established rule of diplomatic law and the most fundamental. The host state is under an obligation to “take all appropriate steps” to prevent any attach on the person, freedom or dignity of diplomatic agents. In exceptional cases however, a diplomat may be arrested or detained on the basis of self defence or in order to protect human life.
i.          The private residence of a diplomatic agent, his papers, correspondence and property are inviolate.
j.          Diplomatic agents enjoy complete immunity from the legal system of the host state in the area of criminal jurisdiction. The only course of action let to the host state in criminal maters is to declare the offending agent persona non grata. The agent may be recalled and prosecuted by his home government or have his immunity stripped, paving way for prosecution by the host state.
k.         Diplomatic agents are generally exempt from the social security provisions of the receiving state – all dues, taxes, personal regional or municipal, form personal and public services and from custom duties and inspection.
l.          Family members of the diplomatic agent enjoy similar privileges and immunities, including members of his administrative and technical staff.

Abuse of Diplomatic Immunity
Most diplomats are well trained and seasoned public servants representing nations with well established traditions of democracy, rule of law and professional civil service. They are expected to obey regulations governing their behaviour and observe strictly the rule of diplomatic eliquette, knowing that various forms of sanctions and disciplinary actions may be imposed for acts of blatant misbehaviour or for flonting local laws with impunity.
            In many nations, the carrer of a professional diplomat may be compromised if he or members of his family disobey local authorities or causes embarrassment to himself or his home government. Such acts of impurity may on their own constitute violation of the spirit of the Vienna convention. The Vienna convention is explicit that without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. In many instance, diplomatic immunity have led to serious and very reckless abuses by diplomatic personnel. Such abuses include involvement in criminal activities, disregard for the traditions and culture of the host communities reckless driving and drunkenness. Other aspect of abuses include providing aid to political dissidents and insurgents, engaging.
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