Lead Counsel for Mr. Alex Saab in the ECOWAS court, Femi Falana is accusing the United States government for mounting pressure on Cape Verde to ignore a judicial ruling on the possible extradition of the Venezuelan diplomat.
He says that the US is behind Cape Verde’s reluctance in carrying out the ECOWAS Court’s order that all processes that would lead to the extradition of the businessman be stopped.
He also says that the United States has pressurized Cape Verde to “ignore rulings from the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the extradition process being carried out against Ambassador Saab be halted”
He made these statements in a letter to Mr. Juan Gonzalez, who is the Special Assistant to US President Joe Biden.
Femi Falana also questioned the US’ commitment to rule of law when it appears “unwilling to allow Cape Verde to follow its own constitution and laws.”
He insists that “the interest of the United States is only that it’s political will alone be obeyed no matter what cost has to be borne by Cape Verde”
“If the United States truly means what you say then please explain to the entire world, which is listening to your words and measuring them against your actions, what gives you the right to place your political hegemony above the requirements of customary international law,” he concludes.
Below the full letter addressed to Mr. Juan Gonzalez
Mr Juan Gonzalez,
Special Assistant to the President,
Senior Director Western Hemisphere,
National Security Council,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear Mr Gonzalez
I have written to President Biden twice in the past few months in respect of the illegal detention of Ambassador Alex Saab,
however, disappointingly received no reply. Perhaps I may be luckier with you.
I have read with great interest your attributed comments on how you wish for the matter of Alex Saab and his extradition to the United States from the Republic of Cape Verde be dealt with without political interference. As ambassador Saab’s lead ECOWAS counsel I congratulate you on your wise words. However, we both know that the only political pressure that is being applied in this case is by the United States on Cape Verde.
You have expressed a desire for the rule of law to prevail in relation to Ambassador Saab’s extradition and illegal detention, yet the United States has mounted pressure on Cape Verde to ignore binding decisions from the ECOWAS Court of Justice declaring Ambassador Saab’s detention to be illegal and the extradition process be terminated. The United States has also pressurised Cape Verde to ignore rulings from the United Nations Human Rights Committee that the extradition process being carried out against Ambassador Saab be halted. It is undoubtedly clear that it is the United States that has pushed Cape Verde to ignore Ambassador Saab’s immunity and inviolability and it is the United States which has pushed Cape Verde to ignore the findings of the respected Geneva public prosecutor, who after a three-year investigation has declared that there is no basis for supporting allegations of money laundering against Ambassador Saab.
I ask you therefore Mr Gonzales which rule of law precisely is it that you would like Cape Verde to follow? One that is dictated by the United States in pursuit of its selfish politically motivated judicial overreach or one that is based upon long established international law and binding treaties between independent sovereign states?
It appears that you are not even willing to allow Cape Verde to follow its own Constitution and laws! It may interest you to know that the maximum time permitted for the Honourable Constitutional Court to rule on Ambassadors Saab’s appeal has now lapsed and there is no option but for him to be immediately released. Perhaps you will instruct Prime Minister Ulisses Correia on which law he is permitted to follow whilst he is in Washington these next few days?
I put it to you Mr Gonzalez that the United Stats has no interest in due legal process being followed when it comes to Ambassador Saab. The interest of the United States is only that its political will alone be obeyed no matter what cost has to be borne by Cape Verde. If the United States truly means what you say then please explain to the entire world, which is listening to your words and measuring them against your actions, what gives you the right to place your political hegemony above the requirements of customary international law?