A Nigerian human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has written to the ECOWAS court over the partial compliance of Cape Verde in the case of detained Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab.
The diplomat, caught in a power tussle between the United States of America and Venezuela, was ordered by the Cape Verde appeal court on Friday to be placed on house arrest having spent seven months in detention since his arrest in June 2020.
While the sudden decision of the appeal court has arguably added relevance to the ECOWAS court’s ruling, the non-adherence to the other part leaves much to desire.
It has yet to comply with the part of the ruling that ordered the suspension of all extradition proceedings against Mr Saab until its main hearing, slated for February 2.
Mr Falana, in his letter addressed to the ECOWAS court Registrar on Tuesday, described the non-compliance as an extension of the stance of the Attorney General of Cape Verde, Luís Landim.
Mr Landim, in a report published by PREMIUM TIMES, argued that the international court ruling is not binding on his country as the protocol that gave such jurisdiction in matters of human rights has not been ratified.
The defence counsel, however, added that Mr Saab’s release to house application was a move by the Cape Verde authority to “prevent the Applicant from pressing for sanctions” rather than obedience to international laws for people with immunity.
“We countered the misleading position of the Attorney General and filed a motion praying the Court to direct the Authority of Heads of State to impose sanctions for disobedience of the Court Order,” Mr Falana said.
“To prevent the Applicant from pressing for sanctions, the Attorney General approached the of Cape Verde last Wednesday (January 20, 2021) to order that the Applicant be placed in a house arrest.
“The order which was granted on 21 January, 2021 was honoured yesterday, January, 25, 2021.
“Whilst we are grateful to the Honorable Court for its intervention, we would like to bring to its attention that Cape Verde, in direct defiance of the Ruling, has not stayed the extradition process and proceeded to authorise it on January 4, 2021. We are therefore praying the Court for further intervention in this matter and decide on the Main Application in light of this.”
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