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Harry Dunn’s family reach out to UN to review ‘outdated’ immunity conventions

Harry Dunn’s family reach out to UN to review ‘outdated’ immunity conventions

Sunday 19 January 2020

Harry Dunn’s family reach out to UN to review ‘outdated’ immunity conventions


The family of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn have written to the UN Secretary General in a plea to review the “outdated” diplomatic immunity conventions.

The 19-year-old’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, have always disputed the immunity granted to their son’s alleged killer Anne Sacoolas.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, seen by the PA news agency, the family have urged him to review the “confusing” diplomatic immunity regulations, which they have claimed are “abused frequently”.

Harry Dunn death
The family of Harry Dunn (left to right) mother Charlotte Charles, stepfather Bruce Charles, family spokesman Radd Seiger, father Tim Dunn and stepmother Tracey Dunn (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Mrs Sacoolas, 42, claimed diplomatic immunity after Mr Dunn was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 last year.

Her lawyers, the US administration and the Foreign Office have all claimed she was granted immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Conventions which was established in 1961.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Dunn’s family have argued Mrs Sacoolas was not a diplomat and therefore was not entitled to diplomatic immunity.

In the letter to Mr Gutteres, the parents have said: “We cannot of course discuss the details of the case or the lady’s driving, but one of the issues our campaign is focusing on is reviewing the outdated diplomatic immunity conventions dating back to 1961.

“They are confusing and are abused frequently, as here by the US administration.  Diplomatic Immunity is of course not a get out jail free card.

“The parents have asked me to seek a meeting with the Secretary General or any of his senior aides to discuss and hear the parents’ concerns on behalf of citizens right around the world who suffer similar abuse and to work out a plan as to how the international community can and will behave better whilst accepting of course the original reason for the provision which is to keep real diplomats safe in hot spot countries, not give them a get out of jail free card.”

Mr Dunn’s parents have also urged authorities to investigate a separate incident in which another driver was involved in a near miss close to RAF Croughton.

The Prime Minister said he would raise concerns over the driving of US diplomatic staff at a world leaders’ summit after footage, released by PA, showed a blue BMW on the wrong side of the road.

Boris Johnson is in Berlin with world leaders, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at the summit hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The video, reported to Northamptonshire Police on Saturday, shows the car has what appears to be one of the registration numbers used on US government vehicles in the UK.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Liam McBurney)

In a statement, Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “I do not underestimate how much of a concerning incident this was and how much worse it could have been, especially considering the circumstances in which 19-year-old Harry Dunn tragically died.”

The Prime Minister previously said that it was right to appeal for the extradition of Mrs Sacoolas, but said the chances of her returning were “very low”.

“That’s not what they do,” Mr Johnson said, sparking criticism from Mr Dunn’s family who later said the Prime Minister had no intention to meet them.

The US State Department has said the UK extradition request for Ms Sacoolas is highly inappropriate and would be an abuse.

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