Ecuador accuses Mexico of blatant interference at World Court hearing

ICJ public hearing on Ecuador's raid on Mexico's embassy in Quito, at The Hague

By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Ecuador accused Mexico before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of blatant interference in Ecuadorian internal affairs on Wednesday after Mexico brought a case against Quito saying it violated international law.

The case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, centres on the arrest of Ecuador's former Vice President Jorge Glas, twice convicted of corruption and facing further charges, who had been living in the Mexican embassy in Quito since December.

He was seized on April 5 in a raid by Ecuadorean police shortly after Mexico granted him asylum status.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have since been suspended and Mexico filed a case with the ICJ two days after the raid, arguing it violated international law.

As part of the case, Mexico on Tuesday asked ICJ judges to issue emergency measures to protect the Mexican diplomatic premises in Quito.

Ecuador's ambassador to the Netherlands Andres Teran told the court on Wednesday the circumstances that led to the embassy raid were exceptional. He said his country had offered assurances that the Mexican diplomatic premises were fully secured and protected, meaning there was no need for emergency measures from the ICJ.

"The reason that the events of April 5 were exceptional and no longer exist today is quite simple: Mexico for months misused its diplomatic premises in Quito to shelter a common criminal," Teran said.

Earlier this week, Ecuador filed its own case against Mexico at the ICJ arguing Mexico broke international law with its decision to grant asylum to Glas.

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

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; editing by Barbara Lewis)