World Court tells U.S. to review death row
Will America listen?
Ruling finds the rights of 5l Mexicans
BY Anthony Deutsch The Associated Press: April 1,
THE HAGUE Netherlands -The World Court ruled Wednesday that
the United States violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row to receive
diplomatic help, and ordered Washington to review their cases.
The ruling by the International Court of Justice could mean a reprieve or
another chance of appeal for the, inmates, including one scheduled, to die May
18 in Oklahoma. It also could have implications for other foreign citizens in
U.S. prisons who were not told they could receive help from their
The order raised questions from the eight states holding
the inmates, but no assurances that the states will try to address the court’s
Some states were seeking advice Wednesday from the U.S.
State Department, but several officials said they doubted the ruling would
affect their execution plans. Officials in Oklahoma and Texas, where three of
the Mexican, inmates are, on, death row, said no immediate action was being
taken in those cases.
"I don't see the World Court as being the same
as the U.S. Supreme Court, where we'd immediately have to jump and say we'll do
it," said Nevada Deputy Attorney General Dave Neidert.
also downplayed the World Court ruling.
“These individuals have been
duly tried or are in the process of being duly tried," said Texas attorney
general spokesman Paco Felici. "We don't believe the World Court has
U.S. Officials will study the decision carefully, said
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli, adding that the United States has tried
to comply with the requirement that consular access be granted to Mexican and
other citizens detained on U.S. soil.
It was the second time the highest U.N.
court has ruled the United States broke the 1963 Vienna Convention, which
protects foreigners accused of serious crimes. In 2001, Arizona ignored a court
order to stay the execution of a German citizen.
Although the court
dealt specifically with the cases of 51 Mexicans, it cautioned the principle
should apply to all foreigners imprisoned for serious crimes. There are 121
foreign citizens on U.S. death row, 55 of whom are Mexican, according to the
Death Penalty Information Center.
It would be wrong to assume the
court's conclusions "in the present judgment do not apply to other foreign
nationals finding themselves in similar situations in the United States," said
the ruling by a 15-member panel.
The court backed, virtually all of
Mexico's main arguments, presented in December.
Arturo Dager, a legal
adviser with Mexico's. Foreign Relations Department, said the court's findings
Were "a triumph of international law."
If the United States doesn't
abide by the ruling, Mexico intends to take further legal steps, according to a