Texas executes second foreign national since ICJ order

Texas executes second foreign national since ICJ order

[JURIST] Convicted murderer Heliberto Chi [Texas materials; docket information] on Thursday became the second foreign national to be put to death [Proceso Digital report, in Spanish] in Texas since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] ordered [press release and text] the US to stay such executions. The US Supreme Court refused to grant [AP report; PDF order] either a stay or certiorari just hours before the Honduran man was executed at 6 pm local time. Lawyers for the Honduran government have argued that Chi was improperly prevented from contacting his government in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [PDF text]. Last month, lawyers for Mexico made a similar argument [JURIST report] before the ICJ to block the execution [JURIST report] of Mexican citizen Jose Ernesto Medellin [ASIL backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which took place on Tuesday. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.

The governor of Texas announced his refusal to comply [JURIST report] with the ICJ order last month. In March, the US Supreme Court ruled [decision; JURIST report] in Medellin v. Texas [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report] that neither a 2005 memorandum [text; JURIST report] from President Bush ordering Texas to rehear several cases against Mexican nationals nor the March 2004 ICJ decision [materials] were binding on Texas officials who had refused to rehear Medellin's case. Last year, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Chi's lethal injection execution [JURIST report] while the US Supreme Court considered Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; JURIST report], a case reviewing whether lethal injection is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.