Category: Law

Seizing Assange From The Ecuadorian Embassy Would Break International Law

ecuadorThe British Government risks breaking international law and being cast in front of an international court if Julian Assange is seized from the Ecuadorian embassy. Diplomats from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office made threats to the Ecuadorian Government that they could invoke a 1987 law to allow them to enter the embassy. The law was created after the 11 day Libyan Embassy siege in 1984 and allows the diplomatic status of an embassy to be revoked.

Carl Gardner, a former government lawyer says the law was designed to stop acts of international terrorism and breaches of international law. This is something Ecuador is not guilty of, thus making it unlikely that Britain will ever carry out their threat. If they did, Britain can expect their diplomats to have a much harder time abroad and it would be a dangerous precedent to set, where nations can arbitrarily cut off diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Assange entered the embassy on the 19th June in order to avoid being extradited to Sweden who issued an arrest warrant in 2010 for crimes of sexual assault. Assange has always denied these claims and he fears that if he goes to Sweden they would send him to the United States to be tried where he could face more severe punishment including execution for leaking classified documents.

As of 16th August 2012, the Ecuadorian government has issued political asylum for Assange after receiving support from the Organisation of American states. However British Foreign Secretary William Hague has stated the UK would not allow Assange safe passage out of the country and that it is still obligated to follow it’s extradition agreement with Sweden.