News Release ~ 02/05/2003

U.S. should follow World Court order to stay executions of Mexican nationals

Duty to honor international obligations applies to all 

Washington, DC (February 5, 2003) -- In response to news that the International Court of Justice at the Hague has ordered the United States to stay the next three pending executions of Mexican nationals until they prove that the defendants were given access to consular assistance, as required by international law, Lawrence Goldman, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, issued the following statement:

“We hope the United States will follow the order of the World Court to stay the pending executions of the Mexican nationals. Unfortunately, our past record indicates that we will not.

“It would be ironic for the United States to ignore the order of a World Tribunal at the same time we threaten war on another nation on the ground that it flouts the directives of a world body.

“The rule of international law should certainly be respected as much when it prevents death as when it arguably allows for war. We should consider following the lead of our neighbors in Mexico in their respect for both life and the law.”

Goldman is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. He can be reached at (212)997-7499.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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