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Are foreign officials abusing their diplomatic immunity?

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Are foreign officials abusing their diplomatic immunity?


​Diplomatic vehicles were responsible for 23,403 motoring offences in Berlin last year, according to a German MP.

Excessive speed, parking offences and even hit-and-runs were among the infractions recorded between January and November 2014, revealed CDU politician Frank Henkel.

He also indicated diplomatic vehicles were involved in 49 accidents, resulting in 20 people being injured, two seriously.

Germany’s interior ministry has calculated if the infractions had been pursued, authorities would have raked in 403,275 euros.

Russia and Saudi Arabia officials were the worst offenders, according to the MP.

Foreign officials in Germany – and across the world – escape prosecution under diplomatic immunity rules, agreed in Vienna in the 1960s.

They are intended to allow foreign diplomats to carry out their work with freedom, independence and security.

But Berlin’s case, and that of London’s, raises questions about whether diplomatic immunity is being abused.

In a report to the UK parliament, Mark Simmonds, an official for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, revealed diplomatic missions in London owed the city’s transport authority around 100 million euros.

The figures, which cover the period 2003-2013, are for parking fines and debts related to non-payment of London’s congestion charge.

The US, with 70,637 fines costing more than 9.3m euros, was the worst offender, followed by Japan and Russia.

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