The World Court ordered the United States on Wednesday to do all it could to halt
the imminent executions of five Mexicans until the court makes a final judgment in
a dispute over suspects’ rights.
The row, which has strained relations between the neighbors, centers on the
fact that the United States failed to inform 51 of its citizens sentenced to die
in U.S. jails of their right to consular assistance.
One of the five Mexicans on death row, Jose Medellin, is due to die on August
5 in Texas.
In 2004, the World Court ruled in favor of Mexico, finding the United States
had violated international law, and ordered it to review the 51 cases to see
whether the lack of consular assistance had prejudiced the outcome of their trials.
A year later, U.S. President George W. Bush ordered Texas to review Medellin’s
case but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that Bush had no authority to do
so, leading Texas to schedule Medellin’s execution for August.
“The court indicates that the United States of America shall take all
measures necessary to ensure that five Mexican nationals are not executed
pending its final judgment,” Judge Rosalyn Higgins said.
Mexico has asked the World Court or International Court of Justice (ICJ) for
an interpretation of its 2004 ruling, given U.S. assertions that its federal
states have a large degree of legal autonomy and it cannot compel them to review