[Kevin Bangs Head Repeatedly on Table]

by Kevin Jon Heller

For the love of God, is it really too much to ask for reporters to do five minutes of research before they write about international law?  See if you can spot the mistake in this article about Britain’s silly threat to invade the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Julian Assange:

Ecuador has said it may appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the UK refuses to grant Julian Assange safe passage out of the country.

Ecuadorian presidential staff adviser Alexis Mera said his government would pursue every legal means to bring Assange to Ecuador.

“We are open to discuss with Britain the solution to this problem, and if there is no diplomatic solution, we may resort to the International Court of Justice,” Ecuadorian daily EL Commercio quoted Mera as saying.

You’d think the fact that the International Court of Justice cannot be abbreviated “ICC” would be something of a red flag.  But I guess not.

Predictably, RT’s article has been picked up by dozens of newspapers around the world.


4 Responses

  1. It’s RT. You’ll have to forgive them; they’re not very good with acronyms. My favourite example of this is from a couple of months ago when they published an article blaming the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) for Americans giving up their citizenship:
    (The actual law in question, of course, is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act: FATCA. FACTA just lets you get a free credit report every year.)

  2. I suppose we should all be grateful that RT didn’t again cite a fictitious treaty as the basis for Ecuador invoking “ICC” jurisdiction, as it did in another recent article on the Assange affair: 
    According to Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patina, the UK’s acts of aggression, blackmailing, and threats are in direct violation of the 1976 Council of Diplomatic Relations

    What the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister actually said was that the British threat to revoke the embassy’s inviolability “would be a blatant disregard of the [1961] Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations…”. Close enough for RT, apparently.

  3. Things are certainly not helped by the fact that both the ICJ and the ICC are frequently referred to in news articles as ‘the World Court’ with no attempt at differentiation.

    Wear a crash helmet, Kevin, as I suspect you’ll be banging your head for a long time to come.

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