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ICJ rejects Ecuador request in Mexico diplomatic dispute

May 23, 2024

The World Court denied a request for an emergency order to compel Ecuador to safeguard Mexican diplomatic property. Mexico says Ecuador breached international law by raiding its embassy to capture a wanted ex-politician.

People seated in the International Court of Justice in The Hague
Mexico has requested that the International Court of Justice take immediate measures against EcuadorImage: Remko de Waal/ANP/picture alliance

Judges at the United Nations' top court on Thursday declined to grant Mexico's request for emergency measures against Ecuador.

The request was made after Educadorean forces stormed the Mexican Embassy in Quito last month to arrest an ex-politician wanted on corruption charges.

Mexico has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, also known as the World Court, for an order to ensure the safety of the embassy and the residences of Mexican diplomats.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam said pledges that Ecuador made in a letter to the court, and promises in public hearings last month "encompass the concerns expressed by Mexico" in its request for interim measures.

The case proper could still take months, or even years, before the court finalizes it.

The raid caused Mexico to break ties with Ecuador and withdraw its diplomats from the country, and several Latin American states, Spain, the European Union, the United States, and the UN chief have condemned the incident.

Ecuador draws outrage after raid on Mexico's Quito embassy

What measures did Mexico want?

Mexico asked the ICJ judges to declare Quito in breach of international law and to force Ecuador to "take appropriate and immediate steps to provide full security of diplomatic premises... and archives, preventing further intrusion against them."

It has also asked the court to suspend Ecuador from the UN until it issues a public apology, and to order the country to "refrain from any act or conduct likely to aggravate or widen the dispute of which the Court is seized" — the issue of whether Ecuador is in breach of international law.

Why was the Mexican Embassy raided?

Ecuador raided the embassy in Quito to arrest former Vice President Jorge Glas, who had been granted asylum by Mexico after being accused of corruption.

He was detained at the embassy on a warrant issued in January on embezzlement charges relating to funds from public works contracts issued after a devastating earthquake hit Ecuador in 2016.

Glas, who took refuge in the embassy in December, was also convicted in a separate fraud case in 2017.

He is now being held in the southwestern Guayaquil prison awaiting trial.

Last month, Ecuador filed its own case against Mexico, saying it "blatantly abused" its diplomatic mission to harbor Glas.

tj/rc (AFP, AP)