The International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations’ highest court, has ordered U.S. courts to review death sentences of 51 Mexicans on the grounds that defendants’ rights under international law had been violated. The New York Times says the ruling “was seen as a moral victory in Mexico and as a stinging rebuke to the United States.” The international court said the death row inmates’ rights to speak with Mexican consular officials after their arrests had been repeatedly violated. It ordered the U.S. to conduct “an effective review” of the convictions and the sentences. The next Mexican to be executed in the U.S. is scheduled to die May 18 in Oklahoma.
President Vicente Fox of Mexico called the decision “a victory for international rights, for human rights.”
The Times said it was not clear whether American courts would heed the ruling. “It’s a very complex ruling,” said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli. “We’ll decide, based on studying it, how we can go about implementing it.”