AALS Panel–Mexico v. U.S.A. (Avena) – Arguments of the United States

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With this note I would like to present the arguments that the United States made in the Avena case a few weeks ago at the International Court of Justice. There are a number of issues to discuss, but I will make one basic point: that Mexico, in the arguments it presented to the Court and in the relief it requested, greatly overreached. Mexico overreached primarily in four ways: first, by bringing claims that have not been finally resolved in the U.S. criminal justice system in complete disregard of longstanding, settled international law principles of exhaustion of local remedies; second, by alleging that the U.S judicial review and executive clemency processes cannot provide effective remedies for breaches of the Convention through "review and reconsideration," as required by the International Court's decision in the LaGrand case; third, by rejecting, without cause, LaGrand's review and reconsideration remedy in its entirety; and fourth, by asking the Court not only to act as a court of criminal appeal of last resort by assessing the facts of individual cases and determining whether the individual Mexican nationals have received a fair trial, but by asking the Court, as well, to act as a legislative and administrative body of ultimate authority by specifying the means by which the United States must carry out its international obligations of informing Mexican nationals of their ability to have their consular officials notified of their detention and of implementing remedies for any breaches of the Convention.


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