Mexico takes Ecuador to international court over embassy raid

The Hague, Netherlands - 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.

Footage shows Ecuadorean security forces raiding the Mexican embassy in Quito and facing off with a Mexican official.
Footage shows Ecuadorean security forces raiding the Mexican embassy in Quito and facing off with a Mexican official.  © Mexico Government tv / Mexico Foreign Secretary /Handout via REUTERS

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.

Ecuadoran 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.

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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.

Mexico calls for provisional measures to protect diplomatic officials

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the lawsuit before the International Court of Justice is intended to help prevent future incidents like Ecuador's embassy raid.
Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the lawsuit before the International Court of Justice is intended to help prevent future incidents like Ecuador's embassy raid.  © REUTERS

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

A spokesperson 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.

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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.

Other nations condemn Ecuador's embassy raid

Ecuadorean soldiers stand guard outside Mexico's embassy after Ecuador's government declared Mexico's ambassador to the country, Raquel Serur Smeke, unwelcome.
Ecuadorean soldiers stand guard outside Mexico's embassy after Ecuador's government declared Mexico's ambassador to the country, Raquel Serur Smeke, unwelcome.  © REUTERS

Several Latin American states, Spain, the European Union, United States, and the UN chief have condemned the embassy intrusion 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' case very closely and are trying to seek direct contact with him through the Ecuadoran authorities," the source told AFP.

Jorge Glas reportedly on "hunger strike"

Former Ecuadorean Vice President Jorge Glas reacts as he arrives to court in Quito to attend his trial on bribery from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Former Ecuadorean Vice President Jorge Glas reacts as he arrives to court in Quito to attend his trial on bribery from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.  © REUTERS

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. He says the charges against him are politically motivated.

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.

He was later taken to a hospital, with officials saying it was due to his refusal to eat, but he returned to prison on Tuesday.

His friend and former boss Rafael Correa, Ecuador's president between 2007 and 2017, wrote on X Wednesday that Glas was "on a hunger strike" and alleged he had made "a suicide attempt."

Correa lives in exile in Belgium to avoid serving an eight-year corruption sentence in Ecuador, and frequently posts on social media his views of his native country's affairs.

Ecuador's minister of labor filed suit Thursday against Correa, accusing him of "treason" and seeking to have his social media accounts suspended for "exaggerating the situation and issuing messages that put the troops and the civilian population in anxiety."

For his part, Correa responded on X, saying: "Don't be ridiculous, the only one who has betrayed the country and endangered the security of the State is (president) Daniel Noboa."

Cover photo: REUTERS

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