Mexico is challenging the convictions and death sentences of 52 Mexican citizens in eight U.S. states via a case filed in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, reports the New York Times. Mexico says the U.S. violated a treaty guaranteeing that foreigners arrested in this country have access to their government’s representatives. The international court is expected to rule this spring; none of the 52 Mexicans has been put to death. In one case, Oklahoma’s attorney general asked a state court in November to stay the execution “out of courtesy” to the international court. The Times calls it “an unprecedented act of deference by an American official.”
Mexico is asking the international court to require that the U.S. honor “consular rights” in the future. The U.S. calls Mexico’s demands “an unjustified, unwise and ultimately unacceptable intrusion into the United States criminal justice system.”
Although the U.S. does not view the rulings of many international bodies as binding, it acknowledges jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to decide cases brought under the consular relations convention and, in some circumstances, to order nations to comply with the court’s interpretation of it. In the Mexican case the U.S. contends that the court lacks jurisdiction to determine by “highly specific means” how nations must comply.