The United States must stay executions of five Mexicans on Texas’ death row until their cases can be reviewed, the U.N.’s highest court says.
Mexico requested that the court stop Texas from executing its citizens – at least one convicted of gang rape and murder of two teenage girls – claiming the U.S. is ignoring an International Court of Justice directive to evaluate the cases of 51 Mexicans on state death rows.
The court found that the inmates had been deprived of assistance from their consulate after their arrest, the Associated Press reported.
The U.N. court order issued today arrives only weeks before Texas’ scheduled lethal injection of Jose Medellin, a Mexican convicted of gang raping and murdering two girls in Houston.
According to the news report, Mexico chief advocate Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo complained to the court at last months hearings, saying the U.S. was “in breach of its international obligations.”
U.S. legal adviser John Bellinger III disputed Gomez Robledo’s assessment, saying the government has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to cooperate with state courts and the World Court order.
President Bush told states to adhere to the court directive and asked Texas to review Medellin’s conviction before his Aug. 5 lethal injection.
Bellinger called the federal government actions “highly unusual.”
“It almost never happens that the federal government enters an appearance in state court proceedings,” he said.
Texas rejected the request, and the Supreme Court ruled President Bush does not have the power to force state courts to obey orders from the World Court in a 6-3 vote.
According to the AP report, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has received letters from both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to review Medellin’s case.
The World Court, the U.N.’s judicial arm for resolving disagreements between nations, holds no enforcement powers.