Fri. May 17th, 2024

A top UN court heard a case on Tuesday involving Ecuador’s controversial raid on Mexico’s embassy in Quito. The incident, which took place in early April, has sparked an international outcry, with Mexico accusing Ecuador of violating diplomatic immunity and setting a dangerous precedent for global diplomatic relations.

The Ecuadoran security forces stormed the Mexican embassy on April 5, arresting former vice president Jorge Glas, who is wanted on corruption charges. Glas had been granted asylum by Mexico, leading to Ecuador’s contentious decision to conduct a late-night raid on the embassy. Mexico’s representative, Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, described the incident as a clear breach of international law.

“There are lines in international law which should not be crossed,” Celorio told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. “Regrettably, Ecuador has crossed that line.” The raid resulted in Mexico breaking diplomatic ties with Ecuador and withdrawing its diplomats from the country. The Mexican delegation emphasized that the incident set a “disconcerting” precedent for the inviolability of diplomatic premises, which could undermine international stability.

Celorio presented images of the raid in the courtroom to demonstrate the severity of the intrusion. He stressed that the forceful entry into Mexico’s embassy and the “egregious attack against our diplomatic personnel” should have consequences. The operation “created a disconcerting precedent that resonates throughout the international community,” he added.

Following the raid, Mexico filed a case with the ICJ, requesting a number of emergency measures to protect its embassy and diplomats. Additionally, Mexico sought to suspend Ecuador as a member of the United Nations until it issues a public apology and acknowledges its violation of international law. Mexico’s application was based on principles from the UN Charter, the 1948 Pact of Bogota, and the 1961 Vienna Convention, which protects diplomatic staff.

On Monday, Ecuador filed its own case against Mexico, alleging that Mexico had abused its diplomatic mission by harbouring a fugitive from justice. Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa defended the embassy raid as necessary due to Glas’s flight risk, expressing willingness to resolve differences with Mexico. Despite Noboa’s stance, Ecuador’s National Court of Justice ruled Glas’s arrest as “illegal and arbitrary,” though he remains behind bars pending criminal investigation. The ICJ may take months or years to deliver a final ruling, but Mexico has asked for provisional measures to ensure the safety of its embassy and diplomatic personnel in Quito.

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