Monday, September 29, 2014
Argentina claims Griesa contempt order 'violates international law'
File photo of Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman.
The Foreign Ministry has asserted that New York district judge Thomas Griesa's contempt ruling against Argentina is in clear breach of international law, adding that the decision had no practical ramifications against the nation and only served to aid the vulture fund campaign.
The government department, headed by Foreign minister Héctor Timerman, stated this evening that Griesa's ruling "is in violation of international law, the United Nations Charter and the Organisation of American States charter," in a press statement.
"All of these instruments establish that the United States of America as a state is the only entity responsible for the actions of any of its organisms, such as the recent decision from its judicial branch," the missive fired, hours after the judge's ruling was made public.
"Judge Griesa's decision has no practical effect, expect for providing new elements for the vulture funds to use in their slanderous political and media campaign against Argentina."
The Ministry strongly criticised the magistrate, who despite finding Argentina in contempt declined to immediately impose financial penalties of up to 50,000 dollars a day, as requested by plaintiffs NML Capital in the ongoing sovereign debt conflict in New York.
"Griesa boasts the sad record of being the first judge to hold a sovereign state in contempt for paying a debt, after failing in his efforts to obstruct Argentina's foreign debt restructuring," the statement said.
"The Argentina government reaffirms its decision to keep exercising its defence of national sovereignty, and requesting that the United States accepts the International Court of Justice's juridisction in order to solve this controversy between the two countries."
Ahead of today's hearing, the government had earlier argued that such sanctions would be illegal under international law. Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman stressed, in a point reiterated later in the statement, that the US government “cannot excuse itself from the decisions taken by US Judiciary.”
In a brief press conference, Timerman said a contempt of court order against a foreign country would be “inconceivable” and described it as a “desperate action against Argentina from vulture funds.” Ahead of Griesa’s decision, the minister pointed out that the US government cannot ignore the actions of US Judiciary.
The official said that “decisions taken by the US could affect Argentina’s debt restructuring process, violating the sovereignty of the Argentine Republic as a result.”
“A state cannot be subjected to monetary or contempt sanctions by judiciary authorities of another country,” he added.