[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] announced that next week it will rule on a Mexican petition [press release, PDF] asking to delay the executions of five Mexicans on death row in the US. Mexican authorities allege that US officials denied the five men the chance to speak with Mexican counselor officers in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [text]. Last month, Mexico asked the ICJ to rule on its request for provisional measures and to clarify a 2004 ruling [ruling and case materials; JURIST report] holding that such executions violated international law. The group of Mexicans includes Jose Ernesto Medellin [ASIL backgrounder; JURIST news archive], who is scheduled to be executed August 5. In May, a Texas court set Medellin's execution date [JURIST report] after the US Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in March that President George W. Bush did not have the authority to direct state courts to comply with the ICJ's order for new court hearings. Reuters has more.
In 2005, the Mexican Congress voted to remove the death penalty [JURIST report] from the Mexican constitution. While Mexico had not carried out a death sentence in the previous 43 years and regularly refused to hand over suspects to the US who faced a potential death sentence, the practice was still legal in military courts. The same year, the US asked Texas [JURIST report] to rehear the cases of 51 Mexicans sentenced to death in the state after their sentences were deemed improper [ruling and case materials; JURIST report] by the ICJ.