STUDIES ON SPAIN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: Limits to the Discretion of the Spanish State in the Exercise of Diplomatic Protection

María Amparo Alcoceba Gallego
Profesora titular de Derecho internacional público, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, España (Senior Lecturer of international law, University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain)

The Spanish practice on Diplomatic Protection has followed the traditional model of Public International Law in relation to this topic: A State is not obliged under international law to exercise diplomatic protection on behalf of a national who has been injured as a result of an internationally wrongful act attributable to another state. There is a discretionary nature of the State’s right to exercise diplomatic protection and there is not an individual right to Diplomatic Protection.

Recently, a Sentence of the Audiencia Nacional on 19th December 2019 has introduced a signification change to it. It has recognized, invoking several provisions of the Spanish Constitution, the right of the individual to receive diplomatic protection for injuries suffered abroad, which, must carry with it the corresponding duty of the State to exercise protection. Furthermore, it has considered the State responsible when the State’s inaction resulted in a failure to exercise Diplomatic Protection, and thus contributing to consolidate the injury derived from a violation of the Individual’s human rights.

This Sentence is in line with the recent tendency in Public International Law to the increase of rights of the Individual in Public international law, but it is not customary law yet. This Sentence is very consistent with the role given to the State as guarantor and protector of Human Rights by the Spanish Constitution and with the rule of law.

INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. LA PROTECCIÓN DIPLOMÁTICA: DELIMITACIÓN CONCEPTUAL.— 3. LA DISCRECIONALIDAD DEL ESTADO EN EL EJERCICIO DE LA PROTECCIÓN DIPLOMÁTICA A LA LUZ DEL DERECHO INTERNACIONAL PÚBLICO.—4. LA DISCRECIONALIDAD DEL ESTADO EN EL EJERCICIO DE LA PROTECCIÓN DIPLOMÁTICA A LA LUZ DEL DERECHO ESPAÑOL.—4.1. La reorientación de la discrecionalidad de la protección diplomática en España.—4.2. La audacia de la SAN de 19 de diciembre de 2019: derechos fundamentales y la ausencia de causalidad.—4.2.1. El hecho ilícito internacional.— 4.2.2. El agotamiento de los recursos internos.—4.2.3. La responsabilidad del Estado por la omisión de protección diplomática.—a) La evolución del Derecho internacional.— b) La obligación para el Estado español de ejercer la protección diplomática.—c) La cuestión de la causalidad.—5. CONSIDERACIONES FINALES.

diplomatic protection; fundamental rights; judicial control of discretion; patrimonial responsibility of the State;

REDI Vol. 72 2 2020




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