Saturday, January 30, 2010

Regarding Dr. Silviu Ionescu

Although I have been keeping track of the case, I have however been reluctant to publicly comment on the case involving Dr. Silviu Ionescu who was until recently a Romanian envoy to Singapore and is said to be involved in a hit-and-run accident. My reluctance was due to it, while there were signs pointing to his involvment, not been confirmed that Dr. Ionescu was the driver of the car involved in the hit-and-run accident.

However, now that it has been confirmed that Dr. Ionescu was indeed the driver of the car involved in the hit-and-run accident, it is my sincere hope that he does not get away scot-free because of his diplomatic immunity. It will be a grave injustice if Dr. Ionescu manages to get away scot-free because he got diplomatic immunity.

As those of you all who have been following the case should be aware, as a diplomat, Dr. Ionescu enjoys, in accordance with Article 31 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, immunity from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdictions of Singapore. It is however now not clear whether Dr. Ionescu still enjoys this immunity since Romania has withdrew his appointment as an envoy to Singapore; I am not sure whether this withdrawing of Dr. Ionescu's appointment is tantamount to withdrawing his status of immunity.

Even in the case that Dr. Ionescu still enjoys diplomatic immunity, diplomatic immunity, if I am not wrong, is intended to protect diplomats based overseas from political charges when bilateral relations sour between the diplomats' home country and the country they are based in. It is not to protect them from crimes such as being involved in hit-and-run accidents (possibly, drink driving also), making false reports to the police and trying to cover up one's crimes.

Thus, Romania should hopefully withdraw their protection over Dr. Ionescu and the Singapore government should communicate strongly to the Romanian government to do so.

Of course, in light of the fact that Dr. Ionescu is now back in his home country and is not obliged to return back to Singapore, it remains to be seen whether, if his diplomatic immunity is withdrawn, he will brought back to be tried in Singapore.

Alternatively, Dr. Ionescu may be tried under the Romanian jurisdiction but I am not sure how "satisfying" this outcome will be to Singaporeans and the families of the victims of Dr. Ionescu's transgressions.

P.S. 4/2/2010

Update: Dr. Ionescu has been charged with manslaughter by the Romanian authorities.

1 comment:

MM SZ said...

Linked under, 'Politics'. Due to time constraints we may not be able to place a notification in your comments section but we will nevertheless link your posts of relevance. Thanks:)

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