The International Court of Justice was due to rule yesterday on a complaint that the US defied the court when it executed a Mexican convicted rapist and murderer last year.
But the US State Department’s chief advocate said on Sunday the ruling would not help other inmates on death row because Washington cannot force individual states to comply.
Mexico has asked the UN’s highest court to affirm its ruling that death sentences for more than 50 Mexican citizens should be reviewed because they were denied consular access when they were arrested.
They were entitled to the consulate’s help according to an international treaty, but they were never informed of that right, Mexico said.
The US has asked the court to dismiss the Mexican complaint, saying it agreed with Mexico but was powerless to act because the prison system is in the hands of the states.
US President George W. Bush issued a directive to the states in 2005 to comply with the order of the UN court in The Hague, also known as the World Court. But Texas refused, and the US Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision last year that Bush lacked the authority to overrule the state legal process in Texas.
Three weeks after the World Court issued an emergency ruling intended to halt pending executions last July, Texas gave a lethal injection to Jose Medellin, convicted of the rape and murder of two teenage girls.
State Department legal adviser John Bellinger III said Bush had done all he could, and it was up to Congress to enact legislation giving precedence to international law over US state law.
“A further ruling reaffirming its decision cannot give more power to the president,” Bellinger said.
Mexico has asked the international tribunal to rule that “the United States breached the court’s order” by executing Medellin.
If the court rules for the US, Bellinger said, it would simply acknowledge that the Bush administration did its best to carry out the court’s order, but it would have no immediate practical effect for other death row prisoners.
A ruling for Mexico would not amount to a rebuke, he said.
“The court has no enforcement powers,” he told a small group of reporters. “It is not the role of the court” to issue a reprimand.
Mexico has asked the court to spell out the meaning of its earlier ruling, arguing that the US must take practical measures to fulfill the court’s demand that the death sentences should undergo judicial review. It said international law must apply not only to the US, but also to its individual states.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,