Ecuador tells a top UN court that it acted to apprehend a criminal and defends the raid on the Mexican Embassy.

Ecuador defended its raid on the Mexican Embassy in Quito last month on Wednesday, telling justices at the top court of the United Nations that it took action to apprehend “a common criminal”—the former vice president of Ecuador—who was holed up within the diplomatic post.

The Ecuadorian attorneys’ testimony was a part of a case being heard before the International Court of Justice by Mexico. In this case, Quito is accused of flagrantly breaking international treaties by storming the embassy and arresting former Vice President Jorge Glas.

The April 5 raid intensified tensions between the two nations that had been building since the former vice president, a convicted felon and fugitive, sought asylum at the embassy in December, just hours after Mexico had given asylum to Glas.

Latin American leaders denounced the attack for being against the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Andres Teran Parral, the head of Ecuador’s legal team at the International Court of Justice, told justices on Tuesday that “Mexico, for months misused its diplomatic premises in Quito to shelter a common criminal” who had been found guilty twice of corruption and other charges.

In its April 11th lawsuit, Mexico requested that the court impose restitution and ban Ecuador from the UN. Judges were also urged to stop any such incursions by taking “appropriate and immediate steps to provide full protection and security of diplomatic premises.”

International law contains boundaries that must not be breached. Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, the legal advisor for Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, informed the court on Tuesday that “unfortunately, the Republic of Ecuador has crossed them.”

On Wednesday, however, Ecuador countered that Quito has already agreed with the steps requested by Mexico, so the ICJ should not take immediate action.

Teran Parral stated, “This hearing is unnecessary and unjustified because Ecuador has already assured Mexico and this court, of its own volition, that it will respect and protect the premises of Mexico” and other diplomatic property.

Sean Murphy, another Ecuadorian attorney, stated that Mexico had not attempted to mediate a resolution to their conflict, which is a requirement for the court to issue temporary injunction.

According to Murphy, “there was no real attempt at negotiations.”

The judgment by judges over Mexico’s request for preliminary orders is probably going to take several weeks.

In a separate lawsuit, Ecuador claimed that Mexico had used its embassy to “shield Mr. Glas from enforcement by Ecuador of its criminal law” and that the actions “constituted, among other things, a blatant misuse of the premises of a diplomatic mission” on the eve of two days of courtroom hearings this week.

It requested that the ICJ declare that Mexico’s conduct violated many international conventions. No date was immediately set for hearings in the case filed by Ecuador.

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