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OPINION: Can Cape Verde say it has not violated diplomatic law?

Opinion

OPINION: Can Cape Verde say it has not violated diplomatic law?


By Samuel Idion

Cape Verde has been refusing to respect the immunity of diplomat Alex Saab who was only passing the country’s island a special mission to Iran before they proceeded to arrest him by carrying out the orders of the former Donald Trump administration, with a view to extradition.

After several court appearances, it has been pronounced that the arrest has no legal basis and has been ongoing since June 12, 2020.

The vice is tightening against the government of Cape Verde. It was already known that the arrest and detention of the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab had been judged totally arbitrary by the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which ordered his immediate release on 15 March 2021.

The government of Cape Verde, however, continued to engage in illegality and to multiply violations of international law and human rights, refusing to execute this binding international judgment. Venezuela protested continuously and the dispute took on unprecedented proportions. The violation of diplomatic immunity by a state is rare and contravenes the most fundamental values of the international community. From now on, an anonymous source close to the chancelleries involved, tells us that the dispute is spreading. Indeed, Iran has reportedly expressed its deep concern to the government of Cape Verde through official channels regarding “the consequences of the violation of the fundamental principles of public international law and those of interference in the bilateral relations between Iran and Venezuela”.

More, Iran “demands that all the necessary measures are taken to put an end to Mr. Saab’s detention and that respecting Mr. Saab’s immunity as a Special Envoy, he is allowed to pursue, without interruption, he journey as a Special Envoy of the Venezuelan government”. Iran demands an end to the extradition process to the United States and strongly protests against these violations of international law by Cape Verde.

Contrary to its basic obligations under international law, which require Cape Verde to engage in dialogue and act in good faith to find peaceful solutions to disputes with other states, the government of Cape Verde has chosen to remain silent, ignoring calls for dialogue from a range of international bodies, including the African Union, ECOWAS, and Venezuela.

The dispute is taking on unprecedented proportions. Iran’s protest is clear and unambiguous: international law is being violated and Saab must be released. Will Cape Verde continue to wallow in a guilty silence? The legal, diplomatic, political, economic, and geopolitical consequences for Cape Verde of this affront to the elementary rules of the international community, which all states respect (even when they are at war), are abysmal.

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