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Mexico asks World Court to stay executions in US

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_9491537 Mexico asks World Court to stay executions in US By ARTHUR MAX / Associated Press Writer Article Launched:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2008
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      http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_9491537

      Mexico asks World Court to stay executions in US
      By ARTHUR MAX / Associated Press Writer
      Article Launched: 06/05/2008 02:23:00 PM MDT

      AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Mexico appealed to the
      U.N.'s highest court Thursday to block the executions
      of Mexicans in the United States, arguing U.S.
      officials have failed to comply with a judgment
      ordering a review of their trials.

      The International Court of Justice said Mexico asked
      the court for an "interpretation" of an earlier ruling
      to clarify its meaning when it asked the U.S. to
      "review and reconsider" the cases of the condemned
      prisoners.

      Until that can be done, Mexico said the United States
      "must take any and all steps necessary" to ensure that
      none of its citizens is executed, and asked the court
      to take urgent measures to intercede.

      The court, informally known as the World Court, ruled
      in 2004 that the convictions of some 50 Mexicans on
      death row around the United States violated the 1963
      Vienna Convention, which provides that people arrested
      abroad can have access to their home country's
      consular officials.

      The court, which sits in The Hague, said the Mexicans
      should have new hearings in U.S. courts to determine
      whether the violation affected their cases.

      President Bush accepted the judgment and asked state
      courts to review the cases. Texas refused.

      Jose Medellin, a 33-year-old inmate condemned in the
      gang rape and murder of two teenage girls 15 years
      ago, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on the basis
      of the World Court's ruling.

      The Supreme Court rejected the appeal March 25, saying
      Bush had overstepped his authority when he ordered the
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      courts to carry out the decision from The Hague and
      review the prisoners' cases.

      The Constitution "allows the president to execute the
      laws, not make them," said the majority opinion.

      Medellin's execution has been set for Aug. 5.

      Mexico asked the court to issue an immediate
      injunction against the execution and those of four
      other Mexican-born inmates. In its request, Mexico
      said it was still in dispute with the United States
      over "the scope and meaning" of the 2004 ruling.

      The Mexican request said the court's ruling implied
      that some actual review must result, but the U.S.
      government says it has already complied.

      The U.S. obligation to follow international law also
      applies to individual states, Mexico argued in its
      application to the court.

      "The United States cannot invoke municipal law as
      justification for failure to perform its international
      legal obligations," it said.

      A World Court spokeswoman said the 15-judge court
      would convene soon to weigh Mexico's request to halt
      the executions.

      The International Court of Justice is the U.N.'s
      judicial arm for resolving legal disputes among member
      states. Its decisions are binding and not subject to
      appeal, but are not always obeyed.
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