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Mexico takes Ecuador to international court over embassy raid

Police officers guard the Mexican embassy in Quito
Police officers guard the Mexican embassy in Quito - Copyright AFP/File Rodrigo BUENDIA
Police officers guard the Mexican embassy in Quito - Copyright AFP/File Rodrigo BUENDIA
Yussel Gonzalez

Mexico filed a lawsuit against Ecuador Thursday at the International Court of Justice over the storming of its embassy in Quito, saying it wanted the South American country “suspended” from the United Nations.

Mexico’s complaint asks that Ecuador be suspended from the UN unless it issues a public apology “recognizing the violations of the fundamental principles and norms of international law,” Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said.

The goal was to “guarantee the reparation of the moral damage inflicted on the Mexican state and its nationals,” she told a press conference.

Security forces stormed the embassy last Friday to arrest former Ecuadoran vice president Jorge Glas, who is wanted on corruption charges and had been granted asylum by Mexico.

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

At the same press conference, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the goal of the suit was “that this doesn’t repeat itself in any other country in the world, that international law is guaranteed.”

Ecuadoran President Daniel Noboa has defended the embassy raid as necessary to detain Glas because he posed a flight risk, saying he was willing to “resolve any difference” with Mexico.

– ‘Harm caused’ –

The Hague-based ICJ — set up after World War II to rule in disputes between countries — confirmed late Thursday it had received the application.

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said suspending a country from the UN is “an issue for member states to decide.” 

“We do very much hope that the tensions between Ecuador and Mexico are dealt with through dialogue,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

While a proper hearing into the matter may take several years, Mexico has also asked international judges to hand down “provisional measures” — a set of emergency orders — to protect its diplomatic officials.

“The Mexican Embassy in Ecuador, along with its property and archives, faces the risk of not being protected or further being violated again,” Mexico said in its application.

– ‘Hunger strike’ –

After his capture, Glas, 54, was taken to a maximum security jail in Ecuador’s port city of Guayaquil — notorious for violent riots and drug-related gang violence.

His friend and former boss Rafael Correa, who was president between 2007 and 2017, wrote on X Wednesday that Glas “is on a hunger strike.”

Glas was returned to prison Tuesday after a short hospital stay that officials said was brought on by his refusal to eat for 24 hours.

Correa said on social media “the medical emergency was a suicide attempt” by Glas.

Correa is living in exile in Belgium to avoid serving an eight-year corruption sentence in Ecuador.

Glas, who had already served time on corruption charges, was the subject of a fresh arrest warrant for allegedly diverting funds intended for reconstruction efforts after a devastating earthquake in 2016.

The embassy intrusion triggered a political storm. Several Latin American states, Spain, the European Union, United States and the UN chief condemned it as a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations.

Latin American leaders will hold a virtual conference next Tuesday to discuss the raid, Honduran President Xiomara Castro said.

They will consider a proposal for the “firm condemnation” of Ecuador’s actions and possible sanctions, according to Castro, the current president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

A German foreign ministry source meanwhile confirmed that Glas also has German citizenship.

“We are following Mr Glas’s case very closely and are trying to seek direct contact with him through the Ecuadoran authorities,” the source told AFP.

burs-jhe-dr/acb

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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