“Detention of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab is a Barbarity” – Baltasar Garzon Real
The International Defence Team of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab condemned the numerous ill-informed statements that have been made about the status of the legal process underway in Cape Verde.
Femi Falana, SAN, who heads up Alex Saab’s ECOWAS Defence commented “Contrary to some of the statements which have been made in the media, the legal process is far from over and His Excellency Alex Saab will not be going to the United States any time soon. The decision of the Constitutional Court on 7 September is leaves many legal ambiguities and my colleague Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro will be seeking clarification from the Court by way of an urgent submission this afternoon.”
Dr Rutsel S.J. Martha, Interpol’s former Head of Legal Affairs, highlighted the fact that no arrest warrant issued at the time of Alex Saab’s arrest on 12 June 2020, which despite the attempt by the Constitutional Court to brush this aside as an inconvenience, cannot be ignored as it is an absolute must, as required by Cape Verde’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Further, the same ICCPR places obligations upon Cape Verde to follow the directives of the UN Human Rights Committee (which has called on 8 and 16 June 2020 for Alex Saab not to be extradited to the United States).
Dr Martha questioned “Why Cape Verde has rushed to join dozens of international organisations if it has no intention of complying with the rules required of members of those bodies? Once again, we must raise the issue of Alex Saab’s status as Venezuela’s Special Envoy and the country’s Deputy Ambassador to the African Union which afford him immunity and inviolability. Professor Vania Ramos commented “It is surprising that there is no recognition of his diplomatic immunity.”
David Rivkin, Lead US Attorney for Alex Saab added that “There is no doubt that Alex Saab is entitled to in transito immunity – a concept which has long been recognised by the United States.”
Baltasar Garzon, commented “There are more than enough elements to demonstrate that there was trickery and there was cheating (in the decision). The arguments, with all due respect to the Constitutional Court, that are expressed in its decision of 7 September are not in accordance with either international law or treaties and nor with international human rights law. The detention of a diplomat is a barbarity – pure and simple.”
The Defence Team aimed to remind all parties that the "Constitutional Court is authorising extradition to a country which is openly politically hostile to Alex Saab and Venezuela and whose courts are yet to determine if it even has jurisdiction. We call upon the leadership of Cape Verde to honour their international obligations, do what is legally and morally right rather than submit to politically expediency."