U.S. Withdraws from Vienna Convention Death Penalty Protocol
You had to know something was up when President Bush agreed to give the 51 Mexican death row inmates in the U.S. new hearings, as ordered by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Now, his purpose becomes a little clearer. Wednesday, the U.S. officially withdrew from the Vienna Convention protocol it proposed and ratified in 1963:
The Bush administration has decided to pull out of an international agreement that opponents of the death penalty have used to fight the sentences of foreigners on death row in the United States, officials said yesterday.
In a two-paragraph letter dated March 7, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that the United States "hereby withdraws" from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The United States proposed the protocol in 1963 and ratified it -- along with the rest of the Vienna Convention -- in 1969.
The protocol provided that its signatories would grant the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the last word when their citizens raised a claim of being illegally deprived of the right to meet with a diplomat of their home country when jailed abroad.
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