Refer to caption
A Swedish diplomatic pouch

A diplomatic bag, also known as a diplomatic pouch, is a container with certain legal protections used for carrying official correspondence or other items between a diplomatic mission and its home government or other diplomatic, consular, or otherwise official entity.[1] The physical concept of a "diplomatic bag" is flexible and it can take many forms (e.g., a cardboard box, briefcase, duffel bag, large suitcase, crate or even a shipping container).[1]

Additionally, a diplomatic bag usually has some form of lock and/or tamper-evident seal attached to it to deter or detect interference by unauthorized third parties. The most important point is that as long as it is externally marked to show its status, the "bag" has diplomatic immunity from search or seizure,[2] as codified in article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[3] It may only contain articles intended for official use,[3] though there have been numerous cases where the privileges of the diplomatic bag have been used to facilitate smuggling. Bags are often escorted by a diplomatic courier, who is similarly immune from arrest and detention.[2][3]

Refer to caption
A Chinese diplomatic bag

Noteworthy shipments

See also


  1. ^ a b Boczek, Boleslaw Adam (2005). International Law: A Dictionary. Scarecrow Press. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-8108-5078-8. Archived from the original on 2021-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "Diplomatic bag: The inside story". BBC News. March 10, 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-03-17. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
  3. ^ a b c "Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961" (PDF). United Nations. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2008-10-05., p. 8
  4. ^ "Italy Expels 2 Egyptian Envoys Accused in Trunk Abduction Attempt". The New York Times. November 19, 1964. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2021-05-02. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  5. ^ a b c Javaid Rehman (7 June 2005). Islamic State Practices, International Law and the Threat from Terrorism. Hart Publishing. ISBN 9781841135014. Archived from the original on 2021-11-13. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
  6. ^ "Kidnapped by Egypt: The Spy In The Air Express Trunk—It's Fact, Not Fiction—And It Has Happened Before". Prince George (B.C.) Citizen (p. 1). November 18, 1964. Archived from the original on 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  7. ^ "Argentina's 1982 attempt on Gibraltar". Gibraltar Chronicle. December 28, 2012. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  8. ^ Rayner, Gordon (2009-10-16). "Yvonne Fletcher, Libya and betrayal of justice: timeline". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
    Rayner, Gordon; Hope, Christopher (2009-10-16). "WPc Yvonne Fletcher: 'We have guns and there will be fighting'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
    [1] Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
    "1984: Libyan embassy siege ends". BBC News. 1984-04-27. Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  9. ^ "Space Station Toilet Parts Set for Liftoff". Archived from the original on 2012-10-01.
  10. ^ Associated Press, Cocaine seized at UN in New York Archived 2016-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, 26 January 2012
  11. ^ "Comunicado No. 012" (in Spanish). StarPoly. Archived from the original on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  12. ^ "UK protest at Gibraltar diplomatic bag opening". BBC News. 2013-11-26. Archived from the original on 2018-05-01. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  13. ^ Fiona Govan (27 November 2013). "Spain dismisses Gibraltar diplomatic bag incident". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  14. ^ "El Reino Unido ha protestado ante España l". (in Spanish). November 26, 2013. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  15. ^ "Former UAE consulate employee Swapna Suresh involved in Kerala gold smuggling: prosecutor". July 10, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-07-13. Retrieved 2020-07-12.