International Law

World Court Orders U.S. to Halt Five Texas Executions


The International Court of Justice has ordered the United States to halt the executions of five Mexicans on death row in Texas. But will Texas comply?

The tribunal also known as the World Court said the executions should be stopped until the defendants’ cases can be reviewed, the Washington Post reports. Mexico contends the five prisoners were not allowed to consult with consular officials in violation of their rights under an international treaty, the Vienna Convention. The Mexican government sought the stay in a new petition.

The World Court had ruled in 2004 that the cases of 51 Mexican nationals should be reviewed for compliance with the treaty, and President Bush asked Texas courts to comply. They refused and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Jose Medellin that Bush could not force state courts to carry out the international ruling. Medellin’s execution is scheduled for Aug. 5.

The new World Court ruling says the United States should “take all measures necessary” to stop the executions and inform the court of what it is doing to comply, SCOTUSblog reports.

A pending bill in Congress would require federal courts to review the cases of Mexican nationals who received the death penalty. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Attorney General Michael Mukasey have also written to Texas’ governor asking him to work with federal agencies to allow a new review of the cases.

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