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Time For US Submissions Over Mexican Executions

UN World Court sets deadline for US submissions in Mexican executions case

22 July 2008 - The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today said that the United States has until 29 August to file written observations on the request for interpretation submitted by Mexico regarding the five Mexican nationals held on death row in US prisons.

Mexico brought the case against the US, charging that the five men were not allowed Mexican consular services after they were arrested, in violation of international agreements signed by both parties.

The court had earlier ruled that the US was in breach of its international obligations but some US authorities ignored the ICJ ruling on technical grounds, prompting Mexico to file a request for interpretation.

Last week, the ICJ ordered the US to delay the executions of the five prisoners until the court issues a final ruling on the matter, and to inform it of the measures it is taking to implement the order. Judgments of the ICJ, also known as the World Court, are binding and cannot be appealed.

A 2004 ruling by the court on the same issue found that the US had been in breach of its international obligations because authorities did not inform 51 Mexican nationals of their right to contact their consular representatives "without delay" after being arrested.

Mexico applied to the court last month for a stay in the executions of five of the 51 nationals. One man, José Ernesto Medellín Rojas, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on 5 August. Four others - César Roberto Fierro Reyna, Rubén Ramirez Cárdenas, Humberto Leal García and Roberto Moreno Ramos - could soon receive execution dates.

Mexico said requests by the men for review and reconsideration of their cases have repeatedly been denied.


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