June 15th, 2024

Top UN court declines to issue preliminary orders in Mexico-Ecuador dispute over Quito embassy raid

By Mike Corder, The Associated Press on May 23, 2024.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The top United Nations court declined Thursday to immediately order Ecuador to protect Mexican diplomatic property following the storming of Mexico’s embassy in Quito to arrest a former vice president.

International Court of Justice President Nawaf Salam said pledges made by Ecuador in a letter to the court and in public hearings last month “encompass the concerns expressed by Mexico” in its request for interim measures.

He said that given Ecuador’s assurances, “the court considers that there is at present no urgency” requiring preliminary orders.

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

At a hearing late last month, Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, legal adviser for Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, told International Court of Justice judges that Ecuador’s actions overstepped “lines in international law which should not be crossed.”

Thursday’s hearing comes at a preliminary phase of a case filed by Mexico accusing Ecuador of breaching international law and asking the court to suspend Ecuador as member of the United Nations until the country issues “a public apology recognizing its violations to the fundamental principles and norms of international law” and agrees to reparations.

The case will likely take years to resolve. In the meantime, Mexico asked 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 wanted Ecuador to let Mexico clear its diplomatic premises and the homes of its diplomats in the country.

At public hearings at the Hague-based court, the head of Ecuador’s legal team, Andres Teran Parral, defended the storming the Mexican Embassy, telling judges that his country acted to take custody of Glas, whom he called “a common criminal.”

He also said that the ICJ doesn’t need to act now because Quito has already complied with the measures sought by Mexico.

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