Was immunity alone enough to free Carvajal?
There has been a lot of speculation on why the Kingdom of the Netherlands (sort-of) granted immunity to Carvajal and then let him go. We’ve said that immunity alone should not have been sufficient to protect Hugo Carvajal and have him delivered back home. Jose Ignacio Hernandez (@ignandez) has made some interesting points on what Holland said, and on the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to this respect.
The Convention clearly states that consular officers will not be subject to the jurisdiction of the receiving state (Aruba) for acts performed in the exercise of consular functions. It is clear that immunity is not a license to kill. It does imply that the receiving state should provide extra care (and yes, some special treatment) if a consular officer is arrested, but a license to kill it is not. Nor to deal drugs for that matter.
On the personal inviolability of consular officers the Convention provides that:
Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.
There was a grave crime, and there was a decision by the competent authority. [But wait… he wasn’t a consular officer at the time! So, what the hell???]
Forget about legal and procedural excuses, Carvajal’s release was due to political or economic reasons. We could also jot it down to good’ol military thuggery. That’s all.