Wednesday, August 06, 2008
This is from Sandra Babcock, one of Jose Medellin's attorneys:
Congress should act immediately to implement the Avena judgment and provide for judicial review in the cases of other Mexican nationals who were denied consular access. That’s the only way to convey to our neighbor Mexico and to the world community that this execution was a severe aberration and not a new way of doing business.
...It is important to recall that this case is not just about one Mexican national on death row in Texas. It’s about ordinary Americans who count on the American consulate to protect their rights when they need help in foreign countries. It’s about the reputation of the United States as a nation that cares about the rule of law. And it’s about the commitment we made to Mexico and our other treaty partners when we ratified the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the UN Charter.
Donald Francis Donovan, another attorney involved in the case, had this to say:
Texas has now executed Mr. Medellin in violation of a binding legal obligation that the United States Supreme Court has confirmed. As a result, the United States today has stumbled in its commitment to the rule of law, and the need for congressional action to fulfill our treaty commitment has become even more urgent. When the United States gives its word, it should keep it.
On July 14th, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 6481, the “Avena Case Implementation Act of 2008” in order to implement the ICJ’s Avena judgment. This legislation empowers the federal courts to hear the Vienna Convention claims of foreign nationals who were not advised of their consular rights, including the Mexican nationals named in the Avena judgment. The legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration, and can be taken up when Congress returns to Washington after its August recess. More on the legislation is here.