No immunity for Ionescu
By Teh Joo Lin
SINGAPORE has told Romania that its former charge d'affaires Silviu Ionescu does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for his alleged offences on Dec 15 last year. Based on Article 39.2 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomat loses immunity for non-official acts when his posting ends and he leaves his host country.
'Dr Ionescu was using the Embassy vehicle in his private capacity and for his private purposes', said the Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement on Thursday. 'As such, with effect from Dr Ionescu's recall, he no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity for the acts in question.'
The Coroner had found that Dr Ionescu, who turned 50 last week, was behind the wheel when the Romanian embassy's Audi A6 hit three pedestrians on Dec 15, killing one of them. The evidence showed that the Romanian had removed the state flag from the car before attending a birthday party at a karaoke lounge off Selegie Road. After the accident, Dr Ionescu was removed from his position and returned to Romania.
The MFA statement was in response to the Romanian authorities, which said it cannot arrest Dr Ionescu as he enjoys diplomatic immunity which Romania has not waived. Neither has Singapore sought a waiver.
Earlier this month, Singapore issued a warrant of arrest against Dr Ionescu, who is wanted for 13 criminal charges to do with the hit-and-run accident. This led to an Interpol red notice, which requests member countries to arrest Dr Ionescu with a view to his extradition.
While Romania is a member of Interpol, the country's Ministry of Justice said it could not arrest Dr Ionescu because there is no extradition treaty with Singapore.