A Commentary from RUSI on 21 December commented on the decision of the International Court of Justice, saying that the ruling is good for the global fight against corruption, and bad news for those seeking refuge under claims of diplomatic immunity. The case involving France was concerned with the vice president of a sovereign country – Equatorial Guinea – being convicted of money laundering, as well as the government of that country shielding his property from enforcement by claiming that it forms part of its diplomatic mission. It is said that the ICJ declined to give effect to this sleight of hand; it ruled that the diplomatic immunity Equatorial Guinea claimed does not extend to a Paris mansion whose confiscation has been ordered by a French court. It is said that the case is yet another demonstration that the main barriers to the prosecution of high-ranking foreign officials for economic crime are practical and political, rather than legal.
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