Texas Flouting the World Court?
If Texas Governor Rick Perry (pictured) does not act to halt Jose Medellin's execution immediately, America will show it does not care to follow the U.S. committments that serve to protect our own citizens abroad. Apparently, condemned man, Jose Medallin, is a Mexican national who was never informed of his right to seek help from his consular regarding the charges against him. He is scheduled for a Texas execution tomorrow.
Below is an Amnesty International Press Release on the matter:
Governor Rick Perry Must Halt Medellin Execution Immediately
August 4, 2008
CONTACT: Amnesty International USA
Wende Gozan at 212-633-4247
or Brian Evans at 202-544-0200 x496
Governor Rick Perry Must Halt Medellin Execution Immediately, Says Amnesty International Texas Goes 'Beyond the Pale if it Insists on Going Forward' With Execution
WASHINGTON - August 4 - Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to stay the execution of José Medellin to comply with a recent ruling from the International Court of Justice, or World Court. Medellin, a Mexican national who was never informed of his right to request consular assistance, is scheduled to be put to death tomorrow.
"It is imperative that Texas officials stay the execution of José Medellin not only because of the pending World Court decision, but also to take into account recent Congressional action on this issue," said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. "Even President Bush, who signed scores of death warrants as Texas governor, concurred some time ago that the United States must honor its international obligations in this case. There will be no clearer sign that Texas will have gone beyond the pale than if José Medellin's execution goes forward."
The World Court last month ordered the U.S. government to "take all measures necessary" to halt the upcoming execution of five Mexican nationals in Texas until it makes a final judgment in a dispute over their consular rights. Medellin is the first of those scheduled to be put to death. Texas officials acknowledge that Medellin was never told he could speak with a consular official from Mexico when he was arrested, but U.S. courts have ruled that this treaty right, which is enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights (VCCR), cannot be invoked because Medellin never raised the issue during his original trial or sentencing.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this procedural bar trumped U.S. obligations under the Vienna Convention, because Congress had not passed implementing legislation to give the VCCR domestic effect. Such implementing legislation has now been introduced in Congress, but will not become law before Medellin's scheduled execution.
"Flouting the World Court ruling would be yet another blight on America's already tarnished international reputation," said Sue Gunawardena- Vaughn, director of AIUSA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign. "Texas has a responsibility to respect U.S. commitments, particularly those which also serve to protect American citizens abroad. And in an era of increasing distrust over the United States’ ability to use its power fairly and wisely, Governor Perry should seriously consider whether he wants his actions to further strain U.S. relationships with important allies."
For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa. org/abolish.
Posted By sisselnor to Lethal Injection on 8/04/2008 03:21:00 PM
UPDATE ~ 8/6/08
Statement by Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis
Strasbourg, 06.08.2008 - “I am most concerned by the execution of Mexican national José Medellin yesterday in Texas. Mr Medellin was not informed of his right to consular help at the time of his arrest even though the United States are legally bound to guarantee this right under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. This is a regrettable attitude by a country which is very vocal about its commitment to the rule of law. The judicial authorities also blatantly ignored the order by the International Court of Justice to stay the execution on the grounds of the violation of the right to consular assistance. I wrote to the Texas Board of pardons and paroles in July, asking for a stay of the execution, but my appeal has been disregarded in the same way as the calls from the Mexican government, the UN Secretary General and several other governments and international organisations.
The issue at stake is not the guilt of Mr Medellin. He was found guilty of a particularly gruesome crime and he deserved to be punished.
The problem is the death penalty, which is rejected by a great majority of democratic and civilised countries across the world and also the pick and choose attitude of the United States of America – and its individual states - when it comes to respecting international law. The execution of Mr Medellin was therefore not only a violation of human rights and human dignity, but also an act of arrogant defiance which undermines the collective mechanisms for peace and security in the world.
Council of Europe Press Division
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by;
They are good, they are bad, they are weak,
They are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat
Or hurl the cynic's ban? -
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
~ Sam Walter Foss
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill