Asylum Case (Columbia v. Peru, 1950)

Asylum Case (Columbia v. Peru, 1950)

Principle: For Custom to be definitively proven, it must be continuously and uniformly executed.

Fact: Peru issued an arrest warrant against Victor Raul Haya de la Torre “in respect of the crime of military rebellion” which took place on October 3, 1949, in Peru. 3 months after the rebellion, Torre fled to the Colombian Embassy in Lima, Peru. The Colombian Ambassador confirmed that Torre was granted diplomatic asylum in accordance with Article 2(2) of the Havana Convention on Asylum of 1928 and requested safe passage for Torre to leave Peru. Subsequently, the Ambassador also stated Colombia had qualified Torre as a political refugee in accordance with Article 2 Montevideo Convention on Political Asylum of 1933 Peru refused to accept the unilateral qualification and refused to grant safe passage.

Issue: Whether there is a custom so established that it is binding to allow Columbia to grant political asylum

Decision: The international Court of Justice decided that a State granting diplomatic asylum do not have the unilateral right to qualify an offense for The purpose of asylum, nor was Colombia entitled to claim guarantees for the safe departure of the man to whom he had given asylum.

Reasoning: Columbia cited several conventions, of which some Peru was not a party so not binding, and others that were accepted by so few states it is very weak. Columbia also refers to many cases where political asylum was granted, but court cannot determine whether they were granted due to usage, or for political expediency. Court says Columbian Govt. has not through its arguments proven the existence of such a custom. And, if there was such a custom, it could not been forced against Peru, because they were not party to the Montevideo convention which included matters of political asylum

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Rayhanul Islam

Rayhanul Islam

Rayhanul Islam is a lawyer by profession, he is also a researcher. Critical thinking is his main focus. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Law Help BD. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. e-mail: rayhan@lawhelpbd.com

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