International Court of Justice stops executions of Mexicans in the United States

In a ruling the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Netherlands ordered the United States to stop the execution of three Mexican citizens. The Court concluded that its possible that the three, Cesar Fierro, Roberto Ramos and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera, on death row may not have had their rights on consular council from the Mexican government. Until the court has a definite judgment on these three cases and in total on 51 cases it has asked the United States not to execute these three.

It’s not the first time the United States is brought for International Courts for breaching the rights of foreigners for consular council when arrested. The high profile case of the German brothers Karl and Walter LaGrand the US was convicted of breaching the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The German government took al possible diplomatic and legal action to prevent the executions. After the death of Karl LaGrand in the death chamber of Arizona on 24 February 1999 the Germans took the case to the International Court of Justice. This court ordered the US government to stop the execution of Walter LaGrand set or a few days later, but this execution was done on 3 march 1999. The case went on before the court and the International Court of Justice judged that the United States violated the rights of the brothers and Germany and violated its obligation to comply with the orders of the court.

It is the question if the authorities in the United States will listen this time. A spokeswoman in Arizona, again involved in the case of the Mexicans, said: "The various outstanding Vienna Convention issues ultimately should be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court," said Kris Mayes, spokeswoman for governor Janet Napolitano. "The United States Supreme Court decides what law is binding here in America." Also the central government may not be able to stop individual states executing those involved. It is a major problem that the United States relies on international treaties to protect Americans abroad, but denies these same rights for visitors of their own country.

The case is expected to last at least a year. The question of the Mexicans on death row in the United States has been a dark cloud on the relations between the two neighbors. If the United States again puts aside international relations and the ruling of the court, it will mark an absolute low point in the relations between the two nations. But even a Britton was executed this month, under great protest in Great Britain, when the support of this nation is vital for a possible war against Irak and the ongoing war on terrorism. Routinely foreigners are executed in the United States. About 21 foreigners have been executed and between 97 till 112, most Mexicans but also two Estonians, are awaiting the fate the US juridical system has ordered for them, with or without the council of their home country.

Richard Wagenaar Special to PRAVDA.Ru Netherlands

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