Skip to comments.Mexico Seeks Retrial for Citizens on U.S. Death Row
Posted on 12/15/2003 3:33:20 PM PST by yonif
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Mexico asked the World Court Monday to order the United States to retry 52 Mexicans on death row because it says they were not told of their right to consular help after being arrested.
The case is the result of a long-running dispute between the United States and its southern neighbor and underlines deep concern among some of Washington's closest allies over its capital punishment laws.
"We are asking the court to tell the United States to retry these nationals, but this time with the consular assistance they are entitled to," said Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, chief legal representative for Mexico.
"Consular help could have meant the difference between life and death," lawyer Sandra Babcock told the judges as the Mexican side made its opening arguments.
Mexico accuses U.S. authorities of breaching the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to tell the Mexicans -- subsequently sentenced to death in 10 U.S. states -- of their right to assistance from their national representatives.
Robledo said Mexico was not contesting the legal grounds for the death penalty in the case, which applies to all Mexican death row prisoners with full citizenship.
Mexico went to The Hague-based International Court of Justice or World Court because all other legal and diplomatic efforts to solve the issue had been exhausted, an official said.
U.S. representatives declined to comment ahead of their opening statements Tuesday.
Over the last several years 55 Mexicans, all of whom received consular assistance, avoided the death penalty, Mexico's legal team said.
In February, the World Court ordered the United States to stay executions of three Mexicans deemed in imminent danger and reserved the right to intervene in dozens more cases.
According to Amnesty International statistics, a total of 71 prisoners were executed in the United States last year, bringing to 820 the total number of prisoners put to death since the resumption of capital punishment there in 1977.
The death penalty has not been applied in Mexico for at least four decades. Though the military still hands down the sentence, recent presidents have reduced it to long jail terms.
Um, if the Mexicans had come across the border legally, they would be entitled to Consular services from the country of origin. When an ILLEGAL Mexican commits a felony (ie. murder), the individual has by his actions acted outside the law by invading foreign soil, and furthermore committed a felony while doing so. Therefore, they forfeit their legal rights.
What about the Americans currently languishing in your jail cells without even the right to a speedy trial. FOAD Motherf*ckers! Apologies to the forum but this makes my blood boil.
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