FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.

posted on 08 February 2016

Julian Assange Verdict: How This Curious Episode Might Be Brought To An End

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Gbenga Oduntan, University of Kent

The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has decided that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily held" by a concert of powers - so how might this curious situation play out?

The Working Group finds that Assange is not only entitled to his freedom of movement, but that he has a right to compensation.

This is of course a major PR victory for Assange. And whatever one thinks of the underlying story, the UN Report is a fascinating analysis of the susceptibility of national criminal processes (including on extradition) to international legal review.

So far, there have been no winners in this unique diplomatic quagmire, which has been stagnant since Assange claimed diplomatic asylum in 2012. Both Sweden and the UK have nothing to gain by becoming vicariously liable for his "arbitrary detention", even if only in the court of international public opinion. Expect angry voices on both sides to raise the matter at this year's UN General Assembly.

In a sense, the finding of the UN panel is binding mostly as a matter of international moral authority. Should the UK and Sweden choose to ignore the ruling, it could compromise their ability to boldly denounce other perhaps more repressive states in the future - particularly on the basis of any finding by the same UN panel. Both states have appeared over the years at the UN as champions of human rights and dissident cases, and neither has any urge to lose that cachet.

So what now? Despite the chagrin of the British and Swedish governments, there are a few ways forward.

Breaking the deadlock

Swedish officers could visit the Ecuadorian embassy to question Assange and take depositions. Maybe even an extraterritorial trial by an extraordinary Swedish court within the embassy can be arranged. Nothing is impossible in the world of diplomacy.

Pining. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Assange's lawyers have urged the charges to be dropped, although this is unlikely to happen before he is formally questioned. Either way, keeping him under what's now deemed to be "arbitrary constructive detention" will only increase his political martyrdom.

The continuance of diplomatic asylum within the territory of a state hostile towards the accused is always very tricky. The course of events and end game scenarios tend towards the bizarre. US marines blasted hard rock music at deafening levels to flush Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican's embassy in Panama. Peruvian politician Haya De la Torre was holed up in an embassy for at least three years while Colombia and Peru fought over the matter at the International Court of Justice.

And then there was Umaru Dikko. Dikko, a Nigerian politician who fled a huge corruption investigation at home in 1984, was kidnapped on the streets of London. He was then drugged and crated in what was described as "diplomatic baggage" for export back to Nigeria, accompanied by Israeli agents and doctors tasked with keeping him alive in the crate.

It need not come to that. The panel's conclusions could possibly inject some pragmatism into the whole affair. Assange could capitulate and walk out into the waiting hands of the UK law and be extradited, or perhaps an English court could refuse to allow his extradition based on the UN ruling. Both Assange and Ecuador could drop their claims for compensation for housing and inconveniences.

Now that the decision, however contentious, has been committed to paper and made public, all the concerned parties might finally have an impetus to find the necessary political will to reach some workable compromise to melt this excruciatingly slow-moving diplomatic glacier.

In the meantime, perhaps agents at British, Swedish and American airports should watch out for unusually large diplomatic baggage.

The ConversationGbenga Oduntan, Senior Lecturer in International Law, University of Kent

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.

You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.

Econintersect Contributors


Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF

The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.

Take a look at what is going on inside of
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Is Free Trade Harming the Economy?
Bank of England Endorses Post-Keynesian Endogenous Money Theory
News Blog
The Evolution Of Home Equity Ownership - Part Two Of Five
How To Easily ID Support And Resistance On Your Charts
Infographic Of The Day: Hollywood Vs. Real Life: How Realistic Are Romantic Comedies
Early Headlines: New Travel Ban, Trump And McCain On Media, Greek Tragedy, Iraq Moves On W. Mosul, US Pushes China On N. Korea, China Wants To Deal, Emoluments Test And More
New Seasonal Outlook Updates from NOAA and JAMSTEC Disagree ...
A Presser For The Ages
Level Of Migration To The United States Not Unprecedented
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 20 February 2017
Where People Use Voice Assistants
Organic Molecules Found On Giant Asteroid Ceres - Why That's Such A Huge Deal
The Shortest-Serving US National Security Advisors
What We Read Today 18 February 2017
America First, India Second
Investing Blog
The Week Ahead: Trump And The Business Cycle
The Importance Of Quality In Diversification
Opinion Blog
Winter Olympics 2022: Beijing And China's Second 'Coming-Out Party'
Of Debt, Detriment, And Exorbitant Privilege
Precious Metals Blog
The Best Gold Stock To Buy Right Now
Live Markets
17Feb2017 Market Close: US Markets Close In The Green Surprising The Bearish Analysts, Monday Markets Will Be Closed For Presidents Day Holiday
Amazon Books & More

.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government



Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved