The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides that arrested aliens have access to diplomats from their home country. The U.S. ratified it in 1969, including an annex to the treaty under which the U.S. agreed to let the world court resolve disputes over interpretation.
The U.S. insists that foreign countries afford Vienna Convention privileges to Americans in trouble overseas, under the provisions of this treaty. However, the U.S. does NOT ITSELF honor the treaty, because, believe it or not, states are under no obligation to honor the treaty. That's really stupid.
The issue heated up recently when the International Court of Justice unanimously found that the U.S. had violated the Hague tribunal's July order to stay the execution of José Medellín, a Mexican convicted in Texas of murder. The court had called for additional judicial hearings to be held to weigh whether he was entitled to a new trial or other relief because local police failed to provide him consular access after arrest, as required by the treaty.
Texas simply ignored the order.
The federal administration says they can't force individual states to obey. So foreign nationals who run afoul of state laws may not be (in most states are not) allowed consular access. That's kind of like if you were arrested and jailed in Yemen for a crime you did not commit, but you were not permitted to contact the U.S. Embassy, because you'd been arrested and charged by local police, not the national police.
The controversy "makes the U.S. look like it's putting itself above the law," said Diana Shelton, an international law professor at George Washington University. "And it's also putting U.S. nationals at risk" when they travel abroad, she said, because foreign governments can cite U.S. noncompliance should they deny consular access to Americans.Full Wall Street Journal story here.
Spokesmen for Mr. Obama couldn't be reached for comment.
Frustrated by their nationals being jailed without consular access, foreign governments have increasingly turned to The Hague to pressure Washington to comply. After Paraguay and Germany won world-court cases against the U.S., Mexico in 2003 asked the Hague tribunal to find the U.S. in breach and vacate the death sentences of dozens of Mexican nationals in several states.
In a 2004 opinion, the court stopped short of Mexico's request but directed the U.S. to conduct additional judicial hearings to see whether the inmates were entitled to new trials or other relief.
The decision sparked a battle early in President George W. Bush's second term between hard-liners who considered international law largely irrelevant [!!!! emphasis mine] and moderates concerned that perceptions that the Bush administration was ignoring Washington's international obligations would undercut U.S. diplomacy.
Ok, I understand most of it. What I don't understand is that bit about not being able to make states comply. It was my understanding that federal law supersedes state law, and that should include treaties, shouldn't it? I mean, could Michigan declare war on Canada? Well, ok, but you know what I mean.
A) It shouldn't require a law from Congress to force states to recognize treaties, and
B) if it does, then why isn't there such a law already?
Repeating a question I still don't have an answer to. I should ask Sheldon, from "The Big Bang Theory". It's my understanding that it's our yellow sun that causes Superman to have super strength and super powers.
It's my understanding that you build muscles by working them hard.
Now, if Superman has super strength, so to him nothing is heavy, how did he manage to build big muscles?
Just something I don't understand.
Another old question. I've never understood the part in the Irish blessing, "...may the road rise up to meet you...". It's supposed to be good, but I don't understand why. Doesn't it mean that there should be no downhills? Aren't downhills the easy parts? It still leaves uphills, maybe even steeper ones if the road keeps rising. If you fall flat on your face, the road rose up to meet you. That's not good.
I don't understand.
I forgot something important. As strong as silk fiber is when it's new, it weakens with age.
I've purchased many very beautiful especially soft old silk saris to use for sewing projects. Yesterday I was holding one up to myself to judge how sheer it was, and I accidentally stepped on the edge. When I pulled it up a little higher, it tore. The scary part - I was barefoot, and didn't even feel the pull. It's really fragile. Like cobweb.
Something I've just discovered: I have twice now hidden this journal by changing the URL. It's pretty easy with blogger. But they don't warn you that when you do that, it breaks all the backward links in posts pointing to previous posts.