Mexico announced its intention to seize the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest judicial body of the United Nations, on Monday April 8, after the police raid on its embassy in Ecuador, which sparked a breakdown in diplomatic relations and an international outcry .

Mexican diplomatic staff based in Quito left Ecuador on Sunday, two days after the police raid on the embassy to arrest a former vice president who had found asylum there.

“Starting tomorrow, we will go before the ICJ where we will present this sad case,” declared the head of Mexican diplomacy, Alicia Barcena, welcoming the Mexican diplomatic staff repatriated from Ecuador. “We believe we can win this case quickly,” she added.

The diplomats and their family members boarded a commercial flight in Quito after being accompanied to the airport by the German, Panamanian, Cuban and Honduran ambassadors, according to the foreign ministry.

A police raid condemned around the world

The intrusion, without recent precedent in the world, of Ecuadorian police officers into the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest the former Ecuadorian vice-president accused of corruption Jorge Glas, who had taken refuge there, has sparked a barrage of criticism since Friday. In the process, Mexico announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Ecuador, followed by Nicaragua.

The raid was condemned by left-wing governments in Latin America, from Brazil to Venezuela, Chile, and even the Argentina of ultraliberal President Javier Milei, as well as by the Organization of American States, the European Union and Spain.

“The forceful entry into the Mexican Embassy in Quito is in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We call for respect for international law and the return of harmony between Mexico and Ecuador, brother countries of Spain and members of the Ibero-American community,” declared the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ​José Manuel Albares Bueno, in a press release.

“Alarmed”, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, considered that any violation of diplomatic forums compromised “the pursuit of normal international relations”, according to his spokesperson.

The United States – which condemns “any violation of the Vienna Convention” – encouraged Mexico and Ecuador “to resolve their disputes in accordance with international standards”. This 1961 convention provides that embassies and consulates “shall be inviolable.”

Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who holds the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called for an emergency meeting on Monday.

Finally, Bolivian President Luis Arce announced on Sunday that his government had recalled its ambassador to Ecuador, and summoned the Ecuadorian ambassador to Bolivia for explanations.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador denounced a “flagrant violation of international law and Mexican sovereignty,” and said he intended to take the matter to the International Court of Justice.

Jorge Glas in a high security prison

Mr. Glas, 54, was transferred on Saturday to a high-security prison in Guayaquil, in southwest Ecuador, according to government sources.

Footage published in local media shows the head of the Mexican diplomatic mission, Roberto Canseco, shouting “this is a scandal! » while running behind vehicles leaving his embassy. A stampede ensued, during which Mr. Canseco fell to the ground. “It’s totally out of the norm, I’m very worried that they could kill Jorge Glas,” Mr. Canseco told local television, still shaking.

Mexico granted asylum on Friday to Jorge Glas, who had taken refuge in its embassy in Quito since December 17 and was the subject of an arrest warrant for alleged corruption. Quito had described this decision as “illegal”, denouncing an “abuse of immunities and privileges” granted to the embassy and interference in its internal affairs. “Jorge Glas has been the subject of an enforceable conviction and an arrest warrant issued by the competent authorities,” commented the Ecuadorian Ministry of Communication.

The granting of asylum to Mr. Glas came the day after Ecuador’s decision to expel the Mexican ambassador to Quito, Raquel Serur, following criticism by the Mexican president on the conduct of the Ecuadorian presidential election in 2023.

On Wednesday, he accused the Ecuadorian authorities of having exploited the assassination of opposition candidate Fernando Villavicencio on August 9, 2023, to favor the election of liberal Daniel Noboa, to the detriment of left-wing candidate Luisa González. Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead after a campaign rally in northern Quito days before the August 20 election.

The government of Ecuador, which is fighting against criminal gangs competing for drug trafficking routes, considered these comments offensive.

Jorge Glas, vice-president between 2013 and 2017 under the presidency of the socialist Rafael Correa (2007-2017), is accused of having embezzled public funds intended for the reconstruction of coastal cities after an earthquake in 2016. He had already been convicted in 2017 to six years in prison for corruption in a massive scandal involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. He was released last November.