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Mexico v.

United States
Avena and Other Mexican Nationals was a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the United Nations. It was decided on 31 March 2004, finding that the United States had breached its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in not allowing representation from Mexico to meet with Mexican citizens arrested and imprisoned for crimes in the United States. An order indicating provisional measures in the case of Mr. Jos Ernesto Medelln Rojas was entered on 16 July 2008, and on 19 January 2009 the ICJ found that the United States breached its obligations under the 16 July order, but also that the Statute of the International Court of Justice "does not allow it to consider possible violations of the Judgment which it is called upon to interpret." In the subsequent domestic American litigation in Medelln v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court (the court of last resort concerning federal rights and international obligations) held that the United States Congress had not implemented laws to enable redress of violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, or to enable enforcement of decisions of the International Court of Justice, and hence the President of the United States could not do so. FACTS On January 9, 2003, the sovereign nation of Mexico filed a lawsuit against its neighbor, the United States of America, on the accusations that the U.S. had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by arresting, detaining, trying, convicting, and sentencing 54 Mexican national to death row without allowing Mexico its international legal obligations in accordance with Articles 5 and 36 of the Vienna Convention. In light of the violation committed by the United States, Mexico demanded that the U.S. must restore the status quo ante and take the necessary steps to ensure that the rights afforded under Article 36 are provided. Mexico also submitted a request to the court indicating provisional measures in order to protect the rights of its citizens after the final judgment in the case, including that the government of the United States must ensure that no Mexican national be executed or have an execution date set for a Mexican national.

US SIDE The United States admitted that in certain cases, Mexican nationals have been prosecuted and sentenced without being informed of their rights, but in other cases, in accordance with the ICJs judgment in the La Grand case, the U.S. had an obligation by means of its own choosing, (to) allow the review and consideration of the conviction and sentence by taking account of the violation of the rights set forth in that Convention. In those cases, review and reconsideration had already occurred throughout the last two years. The U.S. also pointed

out that if the court passed Mexicos request to halt execution for its nationals, it would install a sweeping prohibition on capital punishment in the United States for any and all Mexican nationals, thus interfering in the U.S.s sovereign rights and moreover will transform the court into a general criminal court of appeal. Of the 54 cases presented in front on the court, 3 cases were brought to the attention of the Court. Three Mexican nationals, Cesar Roberto Fierro Reyna, Roberto Moreno Ramos, and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera were at risk of execution in the next few months, even possibly weeks. The court recognized that their execution would cause irreparable prejudice in the case and implemented provisional measures by prohibiting the United States to proceed with their execution pending the final judgment in the case. At the beginning of the proceedings, the United States raised several objections over the jurisdiction of the court as well as admissibility, each dismissed by the court as being a matter for the merits. MEXICOS CONTENTION In the first of Mexicos submissions, it asked the court to declare that: the United States of America, in arresting, detaining, trying, convicting, and sentencing the 52 Mexican nationals on death row described in Mexicos Memorial, violated its international legal obligations to Mexico, in its own right and in the exercise of its right to diplomatic protection of its nationals, by failing to inform, without delay, the 52 Mexican nationals after their arrest of their right to consular notification and access under Article 36 (1) (b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and by depriving Mexico of its right to provide consular protection and the 52 nationals right to receive such protection as Mexico would provide under Article 36 (1) (a) and (c) of the Convention
Art. 36 of Vienna Convention: With a view to facilitating the exercise of consular functions relating to nationals of the sending State:

a. consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access
to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State;

b. if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the
consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall also be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this sub-paragraph;

c. consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or
detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation. They shall also have the right to visit any national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention in their district in pursuance of a judgment. Nevertheless, consular officers shall refrain from taking action on behalf of a national who is in prison, custody or detention if he expressly opposes such action.

ISSUE WON the U.S. violated its legal obligations to Mexico under the Vienna Convention on Consular relations. HELD The United States had violated what has been set forth in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The court concludes that in 51 of the cases, excluding those of Cesar Roberto Fierro Reyna, Roberto Moreno Ramos, and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera, the United States had breached their obligation as set forth under Article 36 paragraph 1 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not informing the appropriate Mexican consular post without delay. By not doing so, the U.S. had also deprived Mexico of the right to provide assistance to its nationals. In regards to Cesar Roberto Fierro Reyna, Roberto Moreno Ramos, and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera, by not allowing a review and reconsideration of their convictions and sentences, the United States also violated Article 36, paragraph 2 of the convention. As reparation in this case, the United States of America must provide review and reconsideration of convictions and sentences of the Mexican nationals and implement specific measures to ensure non-repetition.