THREE MONTHS AFTER CRIMINAL CASE WAS DROPPED, JUDGE CITES IMMUNITY DOES NOT APPLY IN THE STRAUSS-KAHN CIVIL CASE AND IT SHOULD PROCEED
In the NY maid Nafissautou Diallo vs. Strauss-Kahn case, the Bronx State Supreme Court Justice ruled that the civil case needs to continue because Strauss-Kahn’s immunity claim was denied.
The maid in the case claimed that Strauss tried to rape her when she was in his NY hotel room performing her housekeeping duties. Strauss-Kahn denied any behavior of that nature. He resigned from his post as a leader of the International Monetary Fund a few days after the charges were levied. Strauss-Kahn purported that he should have immunity from the case. Justice Douglas McKeon cited U.S. law and the IMF’s rules as reasons why Mr. Strauss-Kahn couldn’t be protected by diplomatic immunity from criminal and civil prosecution. The decision will allow Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim to move forward with her lawsuit, which seeks damages resulting from an encounter in May 2011 at the hotel. She claims Mr. Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her when she arrived to clean his suite at the Manhattan hotel. He has said the sex was consensual. The criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn were dismissed last August, because the prosecutors said that they couldn’t rely on Ms. Diallo as a credible witness after inconsistencies in her story and her past were discovered.
In the civil case, the judge described Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attempt to claim immunity, though he had resigned as managing director of the IMF within days of being arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting the hotel maid, as “his own version of a ‘Hail Mary’ pass.” However, Judge McKeon, found that the IMF extended “functional immunity” to its officials, which “only relates to activities in furtherance of the business of the IMF.”
Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys argued that international conventions, and customary international law albeit not ratified by the U.S., extended “absolute” immunity to officials of international organizations such as the IMF, even after they leave their positions. The type of that immunity sought now is based on a 1947 agreement by the United Nations that gave broad immunity to heads of specialized agencies, including the IMF. Diallo’s lawyers refuted this interpretation, saying that since he was on personal business he does not have immunity under the U.N. agreement. The Judge agreed with Diallo’s lawyers’ argument and dismissed the attempt to have Strauss-Kahn shielded by immunity in the civil case against him.