Lessons from the 2012 London Olympics and the Assange Affair

The success of the 2012 London Olympics is ineluctably linked with good organisation and the application of human intelligence at the highest level. There is evidence that there is no end to the ingenuity of men and women. Under favourable conditions, the poeople of Africa and of African descent can perform creditably in any field of human endeavour. The London Oympics was a rally point for the illumination of the human spirit. It put to shame those, who still harbour primodial feelings and race consciousness.

An African leader is reported to have lamented the dismal performance of his nation’s team. The question is how much thought did he give to the team’s preparations?. Lamentations, just like procrastination is a lazy man’s apology.

The Assange Affair

Insipidity guarantees failure and lamentations. Was Assange insipid or heroic? In America’s diplomatic history, that powerful nation had never been jolted like the fall-out in the Assange affair. Assange reverently or irreverently, advertently or inadvertently entered the lion’s den. He will need the benevolence of the elements to enjoy Daniel’s relief. If one puts his hand in fire, will he not be burned.

By publishing sensitive US intelligence and diplomatic materials, he did hurt the national interests of the United States inexorably. Of course there are consequences!
After failing to appeal to the advanced justice systems of England, he sought for and obtained asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador, in London.

Political asylum is usually available to persons, who seek refuge from fear of political persecution or feel threatened in other ways. It is recognised in diplomatic practice. It is part of diplomatic law that it is the prerogative of a sovereign state to decide whether or not to grant asylum to persons in distress.

If the asylum-seek enters the diplomatic premises of the diplomatic mission in a foreign state, diplomatic law prohibits intrusion into the embassy premises without the permission of the Ambassador. No forceful entry is permissible, unless the embassy is on fire or under any other act of God.

Assange’s presence in the Embassy of Ecuador in London and his grant of political asylum by the Government of Ecuador, has triggered off a major diplomatic row between Her Majesty’s Government and the Republic of Ecuador.

In granting the asylum, the Foreign Minister of Ecuador relied on many International Conventions, Treaties, Declarartions regulating diplomatic relations. Britain relied on a 1987 British Act.
This raises the old international legal argument about the supremacy of international law and municipal law, which age-old practice has resolved in favour of international law.( Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, ESSAYS ON DIPLOMACY, 2012,( pp 950-965).

Mr. William Hague has declared that Britain would not grant safe passage to Assange to Ecuador, which stultifies the grant of asylum. He; however promised that Britain would seek to resolve the dispute with Ecuador.

Which party is right or wrong depends on where one is squating on the imbroglio. Ecuador has summoned a meeting of the Organisation of American states, thereby internationalizing the diplomatic conflict.

A cynical journalist has suggested that some Latin American states might grant citizenship to Assang or even appoint him an anbassador to another state or to Britain. The latter is wishful thinking since Britain has to accept such appointment under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

An early resolution of this dispute is recommended, Little drops of provocation can become a deluge.

Written by
Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
Join the discussion