Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Execution in Texas: US should end its pick and choose attitude towards international law

Press release - 570(2008)

Execution in Texas: US should end its pick and choose attitude
towards international law

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
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11

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