It is in the news that

Mexico is cutting ties with Ecuador after police stormed the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice-President Jorge Glas.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said they had "forcibly entered" the embassy in a "flagrant violation of international law".

What international law does Mr Obrador refer to?


1 Answer 1


Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations regulates the rights of a sending country and how a host country can at all enforce its laws in the embassy. It usually boils down to "only with allowance of the ambassador". While embassies are usually not de jure extraterritorial, de facto they are so hard to reach under most conditions, that they might as well be. This stems from Article 22 (emphasis mine):

Article 22

  1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
  2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
  3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

The only country-level entities currently not a party to the VCoDR are Palau, and South Sudan. The Holy See is special (it has 0 embassies but millions of churches) and Palestine joined in 2014.

  • 6
    Holy See and Palestine are long time parties. Apr 7 at 21:10
  • 2
    Seconding @JirkaHanika above; The Holy See ratified the Vienna Convention in 1964, and Palestine acceded in 1994. treaties.un.org/Pages/… Apr 8 at 4:34
  • 3
    @myersjustinc - The Palestinian ambassador to my country died in an explosion within the embassy on the first day of 2014. The hosting country's police found additional old weapons and explosives within the embassy during January of 2014. Despite some pressures to minimize security search procedures and the media embargo within the police, the extra finds made the news at the time. Palestine acceded to VCoDR in early April of 2014. Sad but memorable enough. Apr 8 at 10:59
  • 2
    The Holy See has diplomatic missions to most countries and they enjoy the protections of VCoDR. The treaty doesn't require the mission to be called an "embassy". Apr 9 at 8:55
  • 5
    "it has 0 embassies but millions of churches" makes it sound like churches are treated as missions wrt. the quoted article 22.
    – JiK
    Apr 9 at 10:04

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