Diplomatic Interference and the Law
By Paul Behrens
Diplomatic interference carries considerable potential for disruption. In this context, diplomats have been accused of insulting behaviour, the funding of political parties, incitement to terrorism and even attempts to topple the host government. Reactions can be harsh: expulsions are common and, occasionally, diplomatic relations are severed altogether. But an evaluation under international law faces challenges. Often enough, charges of interference are made when legitimate interests are involved - for instance, when diplomats criticise the human rights record of their hosts. In such cases, diplomats may be able to invoke grounds which are recognised under international law. On the basis of more than 300 cases of alleged diplomatic interference and the practice of about 100 States and territories, Diplomatic Interference and the Law provides an examination of the main areas in which charges of meddling have arisen - such as lobbying activities, contacts with the opposition, propaganda, the use of threats and insults and the granting of asylum. It analyses situations in which the sovereignty of the receiving State meets competing interests and offers solutions which avoid a conflict of norms. It concludes with useful advice for foreign offices and diplomatic agents and underlines the most efficient ways of dealing with situations of alleged interference.
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