Like any organization or society which has to function according to certain rules, the same is true of relations between states where it is necessary to ensure that their contacts and cooperation are in accordance with a number of universally accepted rules and customs, and within the framework of pre-planned arrangements. In the course of its development, diplomacy has elaborated special techniques of communication and conduct, applying various forms and methods which have, over time, become standard norms of behaviour of diplomats. These rules have changed, been upgraded and improved with new knowledge and customs, and have become generally accepted, thus forming an international diplomatic protocol. Therefore, diplomatic protocol is the sum of rules of conduct of official representatives of states and international organizations in the exercise of diplomatic functions in international relations. These rules are embodied in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR), the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), the Convention on Special Missions, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, and in multilateral and bilateral treaties
However, in a part of diplomatic ceremonial, many issues related to precedents and privileges have not been regulated by international norms, but rather have been left to be governed by rules of international customary law or norms of national legislation, tradition and customs of states.
Our diplomatic protocol is, of course, based on the same principles and norms of international law as applied by other states and international organizations. Yugoslavia, now the Republic of Serbia, is a party to all international treaties and conventions, and its legislation has been brought in line with its international legal obligations.