News

Lawyers Request Diplomatic Immunity for Strauss-Kahn

Peter Fedynsky

A New York State judge is considering whether to grant a motion of diplomatic immunity in a civil case filed against former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A hotel maid who alleges he sexually assaulted her. 

Bronx Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon heard arguments Wednesday by Strauss-Kahn lawyers that he is entitled to immunity by virtue of his former position, as well as international custom and law.  Attorney Amit Mehta made the assertion even though the United States did not sign a 1947 United Nations agreement that granted such immunity to the heads of specialized international agencies.

“Mr. Strauss-Kahn enjoyed the same kind of diplomatic immunity in process and suit that other high-ranking officials and diplomats enjoy and who are resident in this country - people like the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Russian Consul,” the attorney noted.

A criminal case against Strauss-Kahn was dismissed last year because of questions about the veracity of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo.  She worked as a hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault last May.  Diallo has now filed a civil suit.  Her lawyers argue that the defense motion is a desperate attempt to delay her day in court. They say diplomatic immunity is meant to protect institutions, not individuals, noting that neither the IMF nor the U.S. State Department invoked it on Strauss-Kahn’s behalf.

“If he had immunity, then why didn’t his lawyers say a single word about his immunity during the criminal case," attorney Kenneth Thompson argued.  "It does not make sense.”

The hearing in New York comes amid fresh legal troubles for Dominique Strauss-Kahn in his native France.  He is facing charges there that he helped procure prostitutes for sexual orgies.  His lawyers refer to them as soirees that are not illegal under French law.  Attorney Richard Malka says his client strongly denies the pimping charge.

“Supposing even that he had known the status of the women in question, we have to remember that the fact of having relations with an escort would not be an infraction of French law and would be question of an entirely legitimate private matter between consenting adults,” he said.

Diallo’s attorneys say the proceedings in France will have no bearing on the civil case in New York.  Judge McKeon says he will try to expedite his decision about Strauss-Kahn’s immunity.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gab
March 30, 2012 5:50 AM
Do you remember Clinton/Monica Lewisnky. Two consenting adults. The President put himself in the position to be blackmailed. He took the advantage of a subordinate. He did it on the peoples time and in the people's house. He was already being watched for a half dozen other indiscretions. When you give the people this much fuel to work with, what do you think is going to be the likely outcome? - Exposure

by: Rob Swift
March 29, 2012 4:20 PM
The first principle (Law) is a simple one. If these(lawyers or charlatans) try to forgive Strauss Khan they will pay his price as well as him.

by: Paddy O
March 29, 2012 4:12 PM
He is not a diplomat. I'm certain America did not sign that 1947 treaty for good reason, and after reading this I am glad we didn't. We are not a banana republic, Strauss-Kahn will be given a fair trial. The plaintiff's attorneys have a great point, why didn't he waive his passport to the cops when they dragged him off the plane and declare immunity like that South African guy in Lethal Weapon 2?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs