Julian Assange is currently living in the London Ecuadorian embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden.

It's my understanding that diplomats are immune from prosecution, detention, and (presumably) extradition. While the host country can kick the diplomat out, I assume Assange would rather be in Ecuador than in the Ecuadorian embassy. Yet I've not seen any serious discussion of Ecuador naming him a diplomat or ambassador.

Is there some legal obstacle to naming an asylum-seeker a diplomat and thereby exfiltrating them from the host country? Does the Vienna Convention contemplate this loophole (or close it)?

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    I seem to recall part of the process of naming an ambassador is proposing a potential ambassador to the country to which they will be assigned. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_accreditation Aug 17, 2015 at 21:57
  • Also, diplomats are only protected for acts committed while they were a diplomat
    – Dale M
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:44
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    @DaleM However, diplomats are immune from arrest for any offense while they are diplomats; they may not be arrested for crimes that happened before they were diplomats until their status is revoked.
    – cpast
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:47
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    Under Article 8 of the Vienna Convention, diplomats should be of the nationality of the sending state. As far as I know, Assange is not an Ecuadorian citizen or national. A national of a third state (here Australia) can be appointed as a diplomat, but this requires the receiving state's consent (8.3). I suppose Ecuador could grant him Ecuadorian citizenship, though. Aug 18, 2015 at 15:12
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    @Jason: The agreement of the receiving state is required to appoint an ambassador (head of mission) under Article 4 of the Vienna Convention. But other diplomats may be appointed "freely" under Article 7, except for military attaches who require approval. I didn't find anything in the Convention requiring advance consent to appoint such diplomats. The receiving state must be notified (Article 10) and can declare them unacceptable (Article 9) but in this case, it's not clear to me whether they would enjoy diplomatic immunity while leaving the country. Aug 18, 2015 at 15:19


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