CYIL vol. 12 (2021)

michaela sýkorová CYIL 12 (2021) functions (enumerated in Article 3) would not be legally acceptable. Likewise, any sanction, fine, or other punishment under national law in case of non-compliance with measures would run contrary to immunity from jurisdiction reflected in Article 31. On the other hand, lawfulness of certain measures may be justified, by virtue of necessity, reasonability and proportionality. A home quarantine or a self-isolation, limited for necessary time, and reasoned either by presence of symptoms or due to diplomat’s arrival from abroad, is admittable, with regard to the potential of spread and a higher risk of exposing to virus while on travel. Such measures, however, should not impede the performance of official functions of the mission. A general lockdown or curfew could also be permissible, insofar as it does not prevent diplomats to make trips essential for their work. As concerns medical screening, for instance, much depends on the intensity and on the fashion in which it is made. Temperature reading or questions screening seem not to be offensive and may be justified by necessity. Similarly, the duty to present medical clearance certificates or negative test. Mandatory swab tests remain questionable, but one may use an analogy with X-raying at the airport’s security checks – subjecting diplomats (and their baggage) to these procedures has become a standard; and non-acceptance thereof would simply result in a refusal to onboard. Two examples have been left to the third category due to lack of certainty, and that are reporting and tracing the contacts as well as entry bans. The latter is, in principle, impermissible. Interrogating diplomat on his or her contacts or investigating his or her schedule and paths from past days may be perceived intrusive. However, if a medical case occurs, we suggest that the necessity on the side of receiving State to trace the potential virus spread would override the concerns on the side of sending State about risk of revealing a sensitive information. The issue of lawfulness of entry bans is full of perplexity. In principle, there is nothing explicit in the Vienna Convention that would prevent receiving State from refusing an entry or from suspending of diplomatic visa issuance. Here, all depends on the context. Notwithstanding whether a diplomat is already accredited to receiving State, or coming for the first time, refusal of entry could be considered an impediment for performing the mission’s function, as well as an act contrary to the obligation, embodied in Article 25 of the Convention, to accord full facilities. 5. Conclusion As it has been humorously asserted, even a diplomat’s immunity weakens with the strength of virus. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of diplomacy and the normal course of performing diplomatic and consular functions has shifted to unusual dimensions. Restrictive measures have been imposed in an exceptional extent, speaking both in material and geographical scope. Still, the States practice during these difficult times tends to maintain the status quo laid down by the Vienna Convention as largely as possible. This approach strongly advocates for the high relevance of this instrument even nowadays, sixty years after its adoption. The author is convinced that, notwithstanding the exceptionality of the situation, the Convention itself has the potential to legally cover any question pertinent to privileges and immunities that may have been challenged during the pandemic. The gist of the solution lays in an appropriate capture of the balance between the duty of diplomats to respect laws and regulations of the receiving State and the corresponding obligation of the


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