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Strauss Kahn Lawyers to Defend Civil Suit by Hotel Maid
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While it’s been seven months that criminal charges against the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been dropped, a Bronx courtroom would see this week his lawyers defending a civil suit brought by the hotel maid. Nafissatou Diallo would test whether Strauss-Kahn can get diplomatic immunity or not.

The charges Diallo initially brought against Strauss-Kahn included brutally forcing her to perform oral sex in a luxurious hotel suite. However, the criminal case failed due to the prosecutor’s concerns over Diallo’s credibility. However, Diallo filed a civil lawsuit.

Wednesday’s hearing before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon will first decide whether Strauss-Kahn’s claim of diplomatic immunity stands the test or not. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers maintain that he enjoyed legal protection from both civil and criminal cases due to his position as IMF’s top executive. However, others argue that if, in fact, there had been a shield of diplomatic immunity, that was gone with Strauss-Kahn resigning from his post in May 18, while the civil suit was brought in August, and would not be covered.


However, based on a 1947 U.N. Convention discovered b y the lawyers of Strauss-Kahn, it appears that heads of certain specialized agencies enjoyed diplomatic immunity, regardless of the alleged acts being done in official capacity or not. However, the U.S. never signed that convention.

According to the lawyers of Strauss-Kahn, regardless of U.S. not signing the referred convention, the convention has become customary international law and carries weight sufficient to non-ratifying nations to honor the convention.

Diallo’s lawyers have stated in court papers that the legal team of Strauss-Kahn has failed to “establish that there is any acknowledgement amongst civilized nations that absolute immunity should be afforded to the heads of specialized agencies.” They have also pointed out that this sanctified weight of a non-ratified treaty was not claimed or pled by Strauss-Kahn during his judicial custody pending criminal charges.

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The case is Diallo v. Strauss-Kahn, Bronx County Supreme Court, No. 307065/2011.

It would be interesting to see what the court holds on the application of diplomatic immunity and its extension in this case.



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