Wed, Feb 06, 2013 - Page 1 News List

ROC, US ink new pact on immunity

MOTIVATED BY LIU:Taipei had pushed for new protections for its staff in the US after a former TECO director-general was arrested for mistreating her housekeepers

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

A ministry official, who wished to remain anonymous, yesterday disclosed some of the contents of the new agreement, under which diplomats at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington are accorded more privileges than diplomats in TECOs located in 12 states.

The arrangement was in line with international practices that the diplomatic privileges of ambassadors are different from those of consular officials, the ministry official said.

Taiwanese diplomats and their families in Washington will be entitled to “functional immunities” and “immunities in general,” meaning that they will have “personal inviolability,” immunity from criminal and civil jurisdiction, and their residences and property will be inviolable, the official said.

For TECO directors-general and deputy directors-general, in addition to the immunities stipulated under the 1980 agreement when they perform their duties, they will now have “a certain degree of immunity when they act beyond the scope of their authorities,” the official said.

They will be immune from arrest or detention unless they have allegedly committed crimes for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed, another source said.

TECO personnel below the rank of deputy director-general have immunity only when they are involved in acts relating to official duties, but a new provision stipulates that they must be treated with due respect and courtesy, the ministry official said.

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