In "Lethal Weapon 2", the Bad Guy (if memory serves, a diplomat from South Africa?) commits a bunch of crimes; then as he's getting away on a yacht, he taunts Mel Gibson and Danny Glover's policemen characters waving a diplomatic passport around saying "Diplomatic Immunity!".

At which point, Glover's character promptly shoots him in the head, using a clearly legal response of "... just been revoked".

Now, this being a Hollywood film, they rode off into the susnset sequel; but what would have been likely consequences - for them as police officers as well as for United States - if this has happened in real life?

I would especially prefer answers that reference specific actual precedents of a similar occurrence, or established formal rules.

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    IIRC, the SA diplomat had already dropped his weapon and was clearly not a danger anymore, so I guess that for the policemen the break of diplomatic immunity should have been of little importance in relation to their trial for murder. – SJuan76 Mar 12 '17 at 21:53
  • This appears to be more of a law question than a politics question. I will migrate it to law.SE. – Philipp Mar 12 '17 at 22:47

The consequences for the US are perhaps better addressed at Politics; if you're really interested in those consequences, you can re-post this question there.

For the police officer shooting a diplomat, the officer may be charged under state law, whatever is normal for an incident of this type; it doesn't matter whether the person is a US citizen or a diplomat or any other kind of alien, regardless of immigration status or lack thereof.

If the person is a diplomat, however, the officer is also liable to be prosecuted under federal law, namely 18 USC 1116, which makes it a crime to kill, among others, a "foreign official"; the definition of that term includes

any person of a foreign nationality who is duly notified to the United States as an officer or employee of a foreign government or international organization, and who is in the United States on official business, and any member of his family whose presence in the United States is in connection with the presence of such officer or employee.

The characterization of the response "just been revoked" as "clearly legal" is inaccurate; a police officer has no power to revoke diplomatic immunity. In fact, only the diplomat's own country can waive this immunity. The United States cannot do so; it can only expel the diplomat.

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    "inaccurate" - yes, it was intended as irony :) – DVK Mar 13 '17 at 1:47
  • @phoog Can't diplomatic immunity be revoked by the host country by declaring the diplomat a persona non grata according to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations? (although this is also something a normal police officer has no authority to do) – Philipp Mar 14 '17 at 16:35
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    @Philipp no, such a declaration does not revoke diplomatic immunity for acts committed before the revocation. It requires the person to leave the host country (the "receiving state"), and therefore the diplomatic post to which the person is accredited, but they remain protected against prosecution by the receiving state unless the state they're representing (the "sending state") waives immunity. I'm not sure what would happen if the person were accused of committing a crime after the persona non grata declaration but before leaving the country. – phoog Mar 14 '17 at 18:27

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