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Friday, July 18, 2008

Texas governor: state not bound by ICJ ruling on execution of Mexican citizens
Kiely Lewandowski at 8:32 AM ET

[JURIST] Texas Governor Rick Perry [official website] said Thursday that Texas will go forward with the August 5 execution of a Mexican national despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] order staying the execution [order and press release, PDF]. The ICJ ordered Wednesday that a mandated review be conducted to determine whether five Mexican nationals on death row in Texas were inappropriately denied the chance to speak with Mexican counselor officers in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [PDF text]. The court held:

The United States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that Jose Ernesto Medellin Rojas, Cesar Roberto Fierro Reyna, Ruben Ramirez Cardenas, Humberto Leal Garcia, and Roberto Moreno Ramos are not executed pending judgment on the Request for interpretation submitted by the United Mexican States, unless and until these five Mexican nationals receive review and reconsideration consistent with paragraphs 138 to 141 of the Court's Judgment delivered on 31 March 2004 in the case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America).
Jose Medellin [ASIL backgrounder; JURIST news archive], had been scheduled to be executed [JURIST report] by the State of Texas on August 5. In its order, the ICJ explicitly stated:
Texas has made clear that unless restrained, it will go forward with the execution without providing Mr. Medellin the mandated review and reconsideration and that such action by the Texas courts will thereby irreparably breach the United States obligations under the Avena judgment.
Commenting on the order [Houston Chronicle report], Governor Perry's office stated:
The world court [ICJ] has no standing in Texas and Texas is not bound by a ruling or edict from a foreign court. It is easy to get caught up in discussions of international law and justice and treaties. It's very important to remember that these individuals are on death row for killing our citizens.
The court said it will decide whether the US was under an obligation to grant the defendants access to the counselors, and ordered the US to report the actions it takes to comply with the order. AP has more.

In March, the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that a 2005 memorandum [text] from President George W. Bush ordering states not to carry out the executions was invalid because he did not have the authority to direct state courts to comply with the ICJ's earlier order [ICJ materials]. Medellin was sentenced to death for raping and murdering two teenage girls in 1993.





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