‘Immunity status last hope for US official’


LAHORE – Jurists say all officials working in the US embassy do not have a status of diplomatic immunity against any offence and Raymond Davis, accused of killing two men in Lahore, will face murder charges if he does not have the immunity. They said some officials of the lower cadre did not have diplomatic immunity, which was only exclusive to diplomats.
Ahmer Bilal Sufi, an expert on international laws, said the identity and status of Raymond Davis held the key to his future in Pakistan. Experts said the US Consulate employee’s ID said his name was Raymond Davis, technical expert at the consulate in Lahore. They said the US government’s statements that challenged the identity of Davis raised many questions, especially whether a foreigner could mislead the police in disclosing his true identity.
It also raised the question whether the US government was trying to twist facts to claim diplomatic immunity for the accused. According to diplomats and experts of international law, the Vienna Convention provides immunity to all diplomats. The experts say that only diplomatic immunity can save Davis, however, they added that it was far too late to claim diplomatic immunity.
Justice (r) Tariq Mehmood said that as per international law and Vienna convention treaties, immunity status of the American official in the US embassy would determine his fate and if he did not have a status of those diplomats who enjoy immunity, he will be proceeded against in a court of law like an ordinary offender. Justice (r) Tariq said it seemed that Davis did not have the immunity, which is why the Foreign Office had remained silent on the issue for over 24 hours.
“The FO would have produced the record and immunities conventions in the court to save Davis. This is the reason why the US Consulate has remained silent over the issue in the last two days.” He said the Pakistani FO, which had a complete record of all diplomats and embassies’ staff in the country, was supposed to tell the nation whether Davis had immunity.
“If he enjoys immunity, he cannot be charged with any offence or crime, including murder, which he committed,” the former judge said. He said immunities to diplomats covered all type of crimes, even those committed intentionally, like the murders Davis committed in Lahore.