- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
389

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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P. XIII. A PLEA FOR CONSULAR CONVENTIONS. 3S7

The Consular status defined in these Conventions is stated therein
as follows : Professional Consuls (Consuls de carriere) can neither be
arrested nor put in prison except for deeds which, according to local
law, are triable by jury. If required to give evidence in courts of
law, they must be invited to attend by an official letter from the local
tribunal, not by the customary summons to appear on pain of
punishment, and they may excuse themselves, on the ground of Consular
business, from such attendance in civil cases, and in such cases the
local authorities must send to the Consul to take his verbal deposition,
or to have the same reduced to writing. The Consular archives are
exempt from the power of the local authorities, who cannot, under any
pretext, either seize or inspect them. Professional Consuls (Consuls de
carriere) are exempt from any obligation to furnish quarters for the
military or to pay military contributions, and are free from payment of
house duties and direct taxes on personal estate or luxuries imposed
by the State or local communal authorities, unless they possess real
estate in the country. In the latter case they pay the usual taxes as
private persons, so far as real estate is concerned, and are subject to the
same legal procedure as the landowners who are natives of the country,
i.e. they must pay all taxes which are borne by native landowners on
the property they own. Consuls have the right, in the exercise of the
powers which are conferred upon them, to address to the authorities
of their Consular districts protests against the infraction of treaties
or conventions existing between their own country and the State in
which they reside, against any abuse or injustice to which the State
they represent may have been subjected. If their claim be ignored,
they may have recourse, in the absence of a diplomatic official of their
own country, to the Government of the State in which they reside.
In cases of this nature, Consular Officers are entitled to enter their
protest directly, either in a court of law or with the responsible State
officials, and do not need to follow the customary modes of procedure
or to be represented by lawyers or attorneys. Therefore the Consul
has, in the course of his official duties, the right to maintain his official
character even in courts of law and before the organs of
administration. The Consul must be notified by the local authorities whenever
the police or the Custom House officials intend to visit a Russian ship,
in order that he may have the opportunity of being present. The
aforesaid treaties also give the Consular Officers of the contracting
parties the right to act as notaries public : {a) In cases of deeds
concluded between their countrymen on the one hand and local subjects
on the other ; (h) in cases of deeds concluded between local subjects,
if such deeds have for their exclusive object property situated in the
territory of the country which they represent or if they relate to affairs
which are to be dealt with in that country. Consular Officers are
further empowered by these treaties to certify the validity of
documents issued in Russia for the purposes of local authorities. All such
documents when properly attested by Consular Officers and sealed with
the official seal, possess the same validity and force in the territory of
the contracting Powers as they would have if they had been drawn
up in either country by notaries or other officially competent persons.

The stipulations as above have proved in other States to be
satisfactory, assuring to the Consular Service that efficiency which must

Definition of

Consular

Status.

Confirmation
of Existing
Privileges.

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