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Diplomatic interference carries considerable potential for disruption. In the past, diplomats have been accused of attempting to overthrow governments, of using bribes and threats and – as in the 2012 case involving wikileaks founder Julian Assange – granting asylum to persons wanted by judicial authorities. Reactions to these kinds of behaviour can be harsh: expulsions are common and, occasionally, diplomatic relations are severed altogether.
What is the international law on interference? Interference affects one of its cornerstones – the sovereignty of the receiving state – but that is not the only value which the law recognises. Diplomats can often point to the pursuit of legitimate functions or to the protection of human rights, and these aspects too, are appreciated by the international community.
Diplomatic Interference and the Law investigates the main areas in which charges of meddling have arisen, including diplomatic contacts with opposition parties, propaganda activities, the granting of asylum and the use of threats and insults. It analyses situations in which sovereignty meets with competing interests and suggests solutions which avoid a conflict of norms. It also offers advice to foreign offices, diplomats and scholars who encounter this phenomenon on a regular basis and highlights the most efficient ways of dealing with situations of this kind.