But it is not ‘our’ law!

Whatever one’s views on ‘matters Assange’ I find the statement attributed to William Hague as disingenuous:

This is the United Kingdom fulfilling its obligations under the Extradition Act to Sweden, a close partner in so many ways, a fellow democracy in the European Union. It is as simple as that. Therefore to us it is a simple matter of carrying out our law, but as well as being simple it is something we must do. We absolutely must fulfil our obligations under the Extradition Act. Therefore we are determined to do so and we remain determined to do so despite the regrettable announcement that Ecuador has made today.” (Emphasis mine)

But it is not ‘our’ law; it is a law imposed by the UK”s membership of the European Union, one to which Parliament agreed – not that they had any choice in the matter. Should not any law which is effective within the UK not exist but with the agreement of the people – but I digress. I also take issue with the words ‘a fellow democracy’ – the definition of ‘democracy’ being subjective, as ‘Harrogate’ proves.

Were Ecuador to grant Assange an Ecuadoran passport and simultaneously grant him status as a diplomatic, however temporarily, what exactly could the UK government – on behalf of their masters in Brussels – actually do without contravening the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)?

Just asking………

Afterthought: Where William Hague is concerned one can but repeat: Leave a boy in charge……….


13 Responses

  1. A K Haart says:

    Surely Assange is legally on Ecuadoran territory and therefore not subject to UK or EU law.

    • Peter C says:

      Slightly more complex than that, AK. He would not be subject to UK/EU law only if he were both Ecuadorian and an accredited diplomat. As he is neither he is still subject to UK/EU law. What protects him is Article 22 of the Vienna Convention: the premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, are inviolate and must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. Once he steps outside he is dead meat, as they say.

      Of course, Bumble Hague is blathering about it not applying to non-members of the diplomatic mission and that entering solely for the purpose of apprehending a suspected criminal who has no diplomatic immunity himself would not contravene the convention. Complete rot, of course, but they have to try and justify the ridiculous knee-jerk or temper tantrum law passed after the murder of WPC Fletcher.

      • david says:

        C: So Ecuador grant him citizenship and the status of a diplomat – what then?

        • cosmic says:

          They could grant him citizenship and a diplomatic passport. There would be a question of whether the UK was entitled to refuse this form of accreditation. I’d say it’s a muddled picture and a lot of these things are done on the basis or previous practice. Is there any precedent for diplomatic immunity being used in this way?

          There’s talk in the Independent piece of the UK revoking the Ecuadorian Embassy’s diplomatic status, which seems like an extreme measure.

          It seems like a strange business altogether, for instance, it isn’t clear why the Ecuadorian Embassy would want to stir things up by granting him political asylum.

          It reminds me a bit of the business with General Pinochet where he came to the UK for an operation and was detained in the basis of a dubious Spanish extradition request and the British government made itself look ridiculous as it dragged on.

    • david says:

      AKH, Exactly!

    • david says:

      That is how I read it and as far as I am aware so is ‘body’ of the person concerned, especially as I say if they were to be given diplomatic status.

  2. Andy Baxter says:

    I think the behaviour of The Cameroid and Willy Harrangueusall is deplorable and just illustrates the utter contempt they and the rest of the Coagualation display for sovereign rights, liberty, rule of law including international law just to suit their own ends…….

    methinks I detect a whiff of USA pressure on the boy and his sidekicks behind the scenes and despite whatever one personally thinks of Assange or the allegations against him he is clearly a frightened man albeit a probable paranoid one….

    the behaviour of HMG is outrageous in even suggesting violating a sovereign embassy on our soil….utter total contempt for The Rule of Law……a slippery slope we are already on…

  3. graham wood says:

    “But it is not ‘our’ law; it is a law imposed by the UK”s membership of the European Union,”

    Exactly so. Hague is disingenuous. As far as I am concerned EU “law” does not apply to any British citizen, although the British government would like to pretend otherwise. I personally do not recognise a “law” not made and passed with the “full consent of the British people” in a British parliament, by an unelected foreign organisation which is not subject to our Constitution.
    The EU is a complete usurpation of power.
    Incidentally, as all parties agree Assange has committed no crime at all under British law! Technically he may have broken bail, but he has not been charged with a crime as far as I’m aware, (except possibly in Sweden, and the British police know where he is.

    Original Article at Witterings from Witney http://witteringsfromwitney.com/but-it-is-not-our-law/#commentsV

  4. Andy Baxter says:

    Graham I agree in spirit with your comments but I think you miss the point:

    It is the disregard and contempt for the basic principle of the Rule of Law that is being tested here by Cameroid and chums….

    if they can get away with storming into a Sovereign embassy given protection under the Rule of Law under The Vienna Convention then what next? they will have no fear to trample on our freedoms liberties freedom of expression….oh hang on they are already starting to do that…..

    Assange is not the issue here, it is the respect for the basic principle of The Rule of Law.

    The Rule of Law is the foundation stone for civilsed societies, without it there is only tyranny and eventually a descent into anarchy….Cameroid and his nefarious chums as holders of the highest offices in the land, they are meant to be guardians and custodians of our freedoms, liberty,customs, history and culture, instead they trample on these and us,if they had even a smidgeon of honour they would hold just such a principle as The Rule of Law inviolate, but they do not, to them anything is acceptable if it is expedient and gets them what they want.

    holding such high office brings huge responsiblities including having the brass balls to make decisions and say NO to populist or even unpopular demands by sticking to and never flinching from The Rule of Law.

    both Cameroid and Hague are hypocrites of the highest order: just check out their comments from 29th November 2011 when our own embassy in Tehran was stromed and taken over by Iranian protestors:


    do you see the point?

  5. graham wood says:

    Andy. I suspect we are in total agreement here, for I did not address the issue of the violation of diplomatic immunity of the Ecuadorian embassy. I agree fully with the tenor of your comment therefore.
    Perhaps your refeence to the “rule of law” had that principle in view, in which case I concur.
    My point was rather to the central issue as to what is “the rule of law”? The obvious, and very important question arises “whose law”
    In this case the weaselly Mr Hague was referring to the EAW as an exercise in the “rule of law”, and my point was that a great majority of Britons do not recognise that as “our” law at all!
    I think you will also agree that the EU makes very frequent reference to “the rule of law” in treaties, documents & etc. However their understanding is limited entirely to the whole corpus of self generated, and artifical law which governs the EU and all its institutions. That is what they mean by “the rule of law” which of course is totally alien to our own domestic law reaching back into centuries old principles – now abandoned by the British government.

    I noticed a comment made by Idris Francis on an Internet posting which takes the words out of my mouth – it could not be expressed better:
    “Whether Assange is under threat of a trumped up charge (which has not as I understand it been laid against him, and which has already been investigated and debunked) to allow the Americans to get their hands on him becauseof the information he published) may be right or wrong, but that Ecuador as a Sovereign country (would that WE still were) undoubtedly has the right to make its own decision about whom to protect in this way……. Fundamental principles must always come first, that we have signed the European Arrest Warrant – itself a breach of Magna Carta and habeas corpus – is no reason to breach a centuries old and vital principle essential to diplomacy around the world – and so put at risk anyone who seeks refuge in one of our own.”
    I agree therefore with your view of both DC and Hague – they are the ones who have abandoned the historic understanding of OUR rule of law.

  6. Perhaps we should have a referendum on the subject David?

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