Russia Unlikely to See Justice in US Courts Over Diplomatic Property Dispute

© AFP 2022 / MLADEN ANTONOVThis photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport
This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport - Sputnik International
Russia would have little chance of winning a favorable judgment on the illegality of the US government seizing its diplomatic property in the United States if the issue was ever brought before any court especially one in America, analysts told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin at a press conference after the BRICS Summit in China said he would instruct the Foreign Ministry to go to court after the US State Department seized three Russian diplomatic facilities in retaliation for Moscow’s decision to cut US diplomatic staff in Russia.

Russian diplomats left the Consulate General in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington on Saturday, while US security agents entered the premises and conducted a search, which Moscow said violated the Vienna Convention.


On Saturday the Russian Foreign Ministry published videos of searches of Russian facilities in San Francisco and Washington noting that consulate materials were "under rummage by the FBI." The State Department, for its part, denied the allegations and said all of their actions were in full compliance with the Vienna Convention.

The seal of the US Department of State - Sputnik International
Washington Confident in Legality of Closing Russian Diplomatic Properties
Putin in his remarks on Tuesday said that the world would now see, "how effectively the vaunted American judicial system works." Experts told Sputnik, however, that it was unlikely to be functional at all in Moscow’s favor in resolving the dispute over the diplomatic properties.

University of Illinois Professor of Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik that the Russian government had no chance of receiving justice from a US court of law on the issue.

"It would be a total waste of time, effort and money for Russia to sue in United States courts and an insult to the dignity of the Russian Republic and the Russian people to ask American courts to give them justice. This is not going to happen here," Boyle said.

Ohio State University Professor Emeritus of International Law Professor John Quigley told Sputnik that no US court would allow the United States government to be legally exposed to such a lawsuit instigated by Moscow.

"Suits against the United States in a US court would be barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which would not allow a suit against the United States," Quigley maintained.

Lawyer Alexei Tarasov told Sputnik earlier on Tuesday that if a US court decides that the Vienna Convention is not binding on American territory, than any diplomatic object in the United States and perhaps globally may be revoked of immunity.


The Russian Foreign Ministry said US actions constituted a violation of international law, including the Vienna convention on diplomatic and consular relations. However, analysts have said Moscow will face hurdles trying to resolve the case in an international court as well.

A car with diplomatic license plates drives out of a compound near Glen Cove, N.Y., on Long Island on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. - Sputnik International
US Searches at Russian Diplomatic Property Outrageous - Moscow
Professor Boyle said the United States had already removed itself from the diplomatic and legal processes of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), so Russia could not hope to seek a judgment there on the issue.

"As for a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice, regretfully the United States has shamefully and cravenly withdrawn from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that would have given Russia the ability to sue the United States in the World Court," Boyle said.

Russian constitutional lawyers also had the option to seek other legal processes to utilize through the ICJ, Boyle acknowledged.

"As for other means to sue the United States in the International Court of Justice, this will require substantial research by the Russian lawyers assigned to handle this matter by President Putin. But again… I am not overly optimistic," Boyle said.

Ohio State’s Quigley also agreed that Russia could not hope for a judgment by turning to the ICJ if its legal efforts failed in US courts.

"Russia cannot sue the United States in the International Court of Justice, because Russia is not a party to an optional protocol relating to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, nor a party to an optional protocol relating to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," he explained.

Washington’s move to shut down the compounds came after Moscow announced in July that the diplomatic presence of the United States in Russia would be scaled down by 755 people to 455, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russia has in the United States since late 2016, when 35 Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States.

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