If you Persona-non-Grata (PNG) a diplomat, does that cover the situation where the diplomat is permanently "hiding" in their country's Embassy? Or does PNG have no effect whatsoever in that case?

In other words, does Vienna Convention's Article 22 prevent PNG process from affecting the embassy grounds?


Does Persona-non-Grata apply to embassies' physical premises?

It affects "diplomatic agents", it does not affect "premises of the mission".

It applies regardless of the location of the "diplomatic agent": whether or not within any "premises of the mission"; whether or not within the receiving State.

Does [the] Vienna Convention's Article 22 prevent [the persona non grata] process from affecting the embassy grounds?


The persona non grata process affects the status of "diplomatic agents", it does not affect the "premises of the mission" (e.g. embassy grounds). Nor is this process restricted or impeded by the location at any time of the diplomatic agent in question.

The persona non grata process described in article 9 applies to "diplomatic agents" in a "receiving State" or not. Embassy grounds are territory of the receiving State but the process does not require the diplomatic agent to be anywhere in particular.

Article 22 restricts agents of the receiving state from physically entering the premises of this mission without permission. It does not restrict the receiving state from declaring a diplomatic agent, wherever located, as persona non grata.

Issuing a notification to the head of mission is not the same as physically entering the premises.

Article 22 has nothing to say on the matter of declaring a diplomatic mission member persona non grata. Article 22 is about the premises of the mission, not about the status of mission members.

Article 9 says

The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission.

The process of declaring a diplomat persona non grata changes that diplomat's status to no longer having diplomatic agent status and associated immunity in a receiving state regardless of where the diplomat happens to be currently located.

Note that the process is irrelevant for non-diplomats "hiding" in an embassy.

Diplomatic immunity applies to "diplomatic agents" not to visitors and not to "the administrative and technical staff and of the service staff of the mission". The former can be declared persona non grata, the latter not acceptable. There is a distinction.

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  • So a spy could stay more or less in country, he just loses his get out of jail free card? – user9389 Mar 28 '18 at 22:12
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    @notstoreboughtdirt: Persons declared PNG are permitted to leave the country unmolested (e.g. Libyan mission members after murder of Yvonne Fletcher). If the spy chooses not to leave the country immediately after losing diplomatic status, she would be subject to the law of the land on leaving the embassy grounds. Foreign citizens can usually be removed forcibly after due process. – RedGrittyBrick Mar 28 '18 at 22:18
  • @RedGrittyBrick - my question was more scoped towards "before leaving the embassy grounds" time. – user4012 Mar 29 '18 at 12:36
  • @user4012: I have inserted some paragraphs at the top of the answer in an attempt to clarify this. – RedGrittyBrick Mar 29 '18 at 13:58
  • @RedGrittyBrick - the only important thing that seems to be a bit unclear to me (sorry if it's in the answer and I didn't notice it) is: Yes, PNG "in theory" applies to people inside the embassy, BUT, does the host state have any way to actually effectuate the removal of the person if the person just simply sits inside the embassy and doesn't go anywhere? (outside of just loudly complaining - I meant legal steps). In other words - if someone never leaves the embassy, does it matter in reality whether they have been PNGed or not? – user4012 Mar 29 '18 at 14:17

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