The pre-teen daughter of a German diplomat reportedly stabbed a 13-year-old classmate at a prestigious Washington, D.C., private school on Tuesday. The 12-year-old wasn’t arrested for the violent attack, however, because her diplomatic immunity means that she cannot be legally prosecuted. According to police, the stabbing occurred at the British International School of Washington, a pricey private school in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C.
As Fox 45 News reports, the 12-year-old foreign national allegedly stabbed a 13-year-old boy multiple times with a pair of scissors. The attack reportedly took place at approximately 1:00 p.m., and police and other emergency personnel were called to the school. The victim was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive. The 12-year-old alleged attacker was detained by police and other investigators, but could not be arrested or charged because of her diplomatic immunity.
Washington, D.C., police chief spokesman Dustin Sternbeck confirmed that the girl’s diplomatic immunity prevented them from taking further action after the 13-year-old victim was stabbed. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Secret Service also sent investigators to the private school, which teaches up to 745 student of 65 different nationalities. Due to their ages, neither the name of the alleged attacker nor the victim have been made public.
“The suspect has been identified, however, because of her diplomatic status, there’s going to be no arrest at this time. Any questions regarding the diplomatic status can be referred to the State Department.”
While the nationality of the 12-year-old suspect was not initially revealed, German Embassy spokesman Matthias Wehler later confirmed that she is the daughter of a staff member at the Embassy. While Washington, D.C., police are unable to arrest or prosecute the young girl due to her diplomatic immunity, spokesman Wehler vowed that the alleged crime would be investigated internally. He added that, despite their diplomatic immunity, the girl’s parents could “be disciplined” if they contributed to the stabbing in any way.
“This will not be ignored.”
Despite the 12-year-old suspect’s diplomatic immunity, the New York Post reports that Washington, D.C., police officers are attempting to bring the girl to some semblance of justice after an attack that left her classmate stabbed and hospitalized. Reportedly, officers with the department have reached out to the U.S. State Department as well as the Washington, D.C., Attorney General’s Office to work on possible charges.
However, in order for the 12-year-old diplomat’s daughter to be charged under U.S. law, her home country would have to agree to waive her diplomatic immunity first. Not surprisingly, many Americans are fuming over the lack of charges in the disturbing case of school violence.
According to the U.S. State Department, diplomatic immunity is granted to certain foreign government officials and their family members, in accordance with tradition and international law. The diplomatic immunity laws exist in nearly every nation on Earth, and are governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“Diplomatic immunity is a principle of international law by which certain foreign government officials are not subject to the jurisdiction of local courts and other legal authorities for both their official, and to a large extent, their personal activities.”
While diplomatic immunity largely protects diplomats and their families from prosecution, the U.S. does have the legal right to expel diplomats and even to revoke their U.S. visas entirely. It seems unlikely that such a step will be taken in this case.
Police have yet to release a potential motive in the crime, and the school where one student was stabbed and another unable to be arrested for the alleged crime has declined to comment about the situation.
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