23 May 2024, 09:21

Top UN court to rule in Mexico embassy raid request

THE HAGUE, May 23, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Judges at the UN's top court will
Thursday hand down a decision on Mexico's request for emergency measures over
Quito's embassy raid last month to snatch a former top Ecuadoran politician.

Ecuadoran security forces stormed the Mexican embassy in Quito in early April
to arrest former vice president Jorge Glas, who is wanted on corruption
charges and had been granted asylum by Mexico.

Mexico dragged Ecuador before the International Court of Justice in The
Hague, asking judges to declare Quito in breach of international law and hand
down "provisional measures" -- court-speak for a set of urgent interventions
-- while its case was ongoing.

Judges will give a decision at 1300 GMT on Thursday at the opulent Peace
Palace, home of the ICJ. The case proper, however, could still take months,
if not years.

Quito's rare incursion on diplomatic territory sparked an international
outcry, and led Mexico to break ties with Ecuador and pull its diplomats out
of the country.

- 'Crossed a line' -

Late last month, Mexico's representative Alejandro Celorio Alcantara told
judges Ecuador's raid "crossed a line", setting a dangerous precedent when it
came to international relations.

"There are lines in international law which should not be crossed," Celorio

The judges on Thursday will rule on Mexico's immediate requests, including
that Quito should "take appropriate and immediate steps to provide full
security of diplomatic premises... and archives, preventing further intrusion
against them".

Mexico is also asking judges to order Ecuador to "refrain from any act or
conduct likely to aggravate or widen the dispute of which the Court is

Judges will next ruminate over the case proper, in which Mexico accuses
Ecuador of "breaking international law".

Mexico is asking the ICJ to suspend Ecuador from the UN until it issues a
public apology -- and for the court to declare itself the "appropriate
judicial body" to determine Quito's responsibility in order to start a
process to expel it from the world body.

Mexico based its application on the principles of the UN Charter as well as
the 1948 Pact of Bogota -- which obliges its signatories to solve disputes
through peaceful means -- and the 1961 Vienna Convention which guarantees
protection for diplomatic staff.

- 'Common criminal' -

But Ecuador's diplomats hit back during the hearings, saying the embassy raid
was "exceptional" and aimed "solely" to bring Glas -- which Quito said was a
wanted fugitive -- to justice.

"Mexico for months misused its diplomatic premises in Quito to shelter a
common criminal who had been duly convicted by the highest Ecuadoran courts
of very serious corruption-related offences," said Andres Teran Parral,
Ecuador's ambassador to the Netherlands.

Ecuador last month filed its own case against Mexico, making a similar
argument that it "blatantly abused" its diplomatic mission to harbour Glas.

Glas, who served as vice president from 2013 to 2017, faces graft charges
stemming from his time in office.

He was detained at the embassy on a warrant issued in January on embezzlement
charges relating to funds from public works contracts issued after a
devastating earthquake hit Ecuador in 2016.

Glas was also convicted in a separate fraud case in 2017.

The raid came hours after Mexico granted Glas's request for political asylum.

Several Latin American states, Spain, the European Union, the United States,
and the UN chief have condemned the embassy intrusion.

Meanwhile, Glas remains behind bars at the southwestern Guayaquil prison,
with his lawyers fighting to prevent the extraction of data from two
cellphones and an iPad, seized when he was arrested.

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