Mexico tells World Court Ecuador embassy raid was illegal

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 4:48 AM

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Mexico told judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday that an armed raid on its embassy in Quito by Ecuador breached international law.

The case centres on the dramatic arrest of Ecuador’s former Vice President Jorge Glas, twice convicted of corruption and facing fresh charges, who had been living in the Mexican embassy since December. He was seized on April 5 in a raid by Ecuadorean police shortly after Mexico granted him asylum status.

“There is no rule under international law that could nullify the inviolability of the embassy of Mexico, and no standard under which the assault could be deemed as a lawful operation,” Alejandro Celorio, a legal adviser to Mexico’s foreign ministry, said.

He said the case was not only important to Mexico but to the international community as a whole, with the immunity of diplomats and diplomatic premises a cornerstone of relations between countries.

Mexico filed a case with the ICJ, the U.N.’s top court, within days of the raid, demanding that the court suspend Ecuador from the United Nations unless and until it issued a public apology and offered reparations for the harm suffered.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Mexico asked for emergency measures, including securing the embassy and other diplomatic premises in Ecuador and allowing Mexican officials to clear diplomatic buildings and diplomats’ private homes in the country.

ICJ cases typically take years before reaching a final judgment and while its rulings are legally binding, the tribunal has no means of enforcing them.

Ecuador will respond to Mexico’s demands for emergency measures on Tuesday.

On Monday Ecuador filed its own case against Mexico at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, arguing Mexico broke international law with its decision to grant asylum to Glas.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Ros Russell)