UN Court rules against United States on execution of Mexican

19 January 2009 – The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, found today that the United States had breached its orders when Texas last year executed a Mexican national who had not been informed on arrest of his right to contact his consular representatives.

Ruling in The Hague on a complaint from Mexico, the ICJ found that the US was obliged to review and reconsider the convictions and sentences of other Mexican nationals whose rights under the 1963 Vienna Convention on consular representation may have been violated.

José Ernesto Medellín Rojas was executed after being convicted of rape and murder last August. The Court found that the US had specifically breached its obligation under an ICJ order of 16 July 2008 calling on it to “take all measures necessary to ensure” that Mr. Medellín and four other Mexicans not be executed pending judgment on a suit by the Mexican Government.

The ruling stems from a 2004 ICJ finding that the US had breached its obligations under the Vienna Convention an international convention to 51 Mexicans on death row in US jails when it did not inform them of their right to contact their consular representatives “without delay” after their arrest.

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