Mexico is taking Ecuador to the top UN court over its storming of the Mexican Embassy

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Mexico accused Ecuador of a blatant violation of international law before the top U.N. court on Tuesday, asserting there was no legal defense for storming the Mexican Embassy in Quito to arrest a former vice president who had just been granted asylum by Mexico.

The April 5 raid, hours after Mexico granted asylum to former Vice President Jorge Glas, spiked tensions that had been brewing between the two countries since Glas, a convicted criminal and fugitive, took refuge at the embassy in December.

Leaders across Latin America condemned the raid as a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“There are lines in international law which should not be crossed. Regrettably, the Republic of Ecuador has crossed them," Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, legal adviser for Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, told the court. "The actions undertaken by Ecuador not only transverse the established boundaries of international law, but also have served a disconcerting precedent that reverberates across the international community.”

Mexico's chief of mission was shoved to the ground by police during the raid, an action captured on surveillance video that raised Mexico's ire.

“The forceful and violent incursion of Ecuadorian authorities into the premises of the Mexican Embassy and the unjustified exercise of violence against members of our diplomatic mission, alongside the blatant attempt to justify a grave violation of international law, vividly showcase Ecuador’s disregard for fundamental, universally accepted and long-standing norms,” Celorio said.

Ecuador said Glas was wanted because of corruption convictions and not for political reasons, and has argued that Mexico's granting of asylum to a convicted criminal was itself a violation of the Vienna Convention.

But Celorio asserted Tuesday that “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 termed as a lawful operation.”

Two mornings of preliminary hearings at the International Court of Justice are focused on Mexico’s request for interim orders known as provisional measures to be put in force while the case progresses through the court — a process likely to take many months. Ecuador was expected to respond Wednesday.

Among the measures Mexico is seeking is for the court to order Ecuador to take “appropriate and immediate steps to provide full protection and security of diplomatic premises” and prevent any further intrusions. It also wants Ecuador to let Mexico clear its diplomatic premises and the homes of its diplomats in the country.

In its case filed April 11, Mexico also asked the court to award reparation and suspend Ecuador from the United Nations.

On Monday, Ecuador also filed a case at the International Court of Justice accusing Mexico of using its embassy to “shield Mr. Glas from enforcement by Ecuador of its criminal law” and arguing that the actions “constituted, among other things, a blatant misuse of the premises of a diplomatic mission.”

It asked the court to rule that Mexico's actions breached a number of international conventions. No date was immediately set for hearings in the case filed by Ecuador.


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