UK, US call off 'immunity' for official's wife

23 Juillet, 2020, 02:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Britain will no longer offer immunity from criminal prosecution to the families of the American staff at a military base near where a teenager was killed by a vehicle driven by the wife of an American diplomat.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walk up the stairs in the Foreign Office in London on Tuesday.

The move, announced by U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, is aimed at making it more hard for the families of some diplomats to claim immunity.

On Wednesday, Dominic Raab said in a written statement: "First and foremost, the U.S. waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdiction is now expressly extended to the family members of United States staff at the Croughton Annex, thus ending the anomaly in the previous arrangements and permitting the criminal prosecution of the family members of those staff, should these tragic circumstances ever arise again". "Permitting the criminal prosecution of the family members of those staff, should these tragic circumstances ever arise again".

The date of the changes means that they would not appear to apply retroactively to Sacoolas.

Dunn's mother, Charlotte Charles, said the change was a "huge step forward" and that the family's campaign for Ms Sacoolas to face criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom would continue.

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The case sparked a transatlantic dispute between Washington and London about whether Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Previously the staff's families were also covered by the veil of diplomatic immunity, something Mrs Sacoolas used in 2019.

"We now need Dominic Raab to work with us to make sure that we get her back to the U.K.to face justice at some point soon", Charles said.

In October, Dunn's family met with President Donald Trump at the White House to petition him to extradite Sacoolas.

Harry Dunn, 19, was struck by a auto and killed last August while riding a motorbike in Northamptonshire, in central England. The family declined to meet her.

We have secured the agreement of the USA so that the Croughton arrangements could not in future be used in the same way as in the tragic case of Harry Dunn.

"However, I hope that the knowledge that the Croughton arrangements have been revised and that a family in their position would now see justice done brings some small measure of comfort".

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