Case Concerning Avena and other Mexican Nationals
(Mexico v. United States of America)
2004 I.C.J. 1 (Mar 31)

  • 51 Mexican nationals were in jail on various charges, including three prisoners who had been convicted of a capital crime and were on death row.
    • At the time of their arrests the prisoners were not warned that they had a right to contact the Mexican Embassy.
    • Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights 36(1)(b), foreign nationals have a right to contact their embassy when arrested.
      • The US was a party to the Convention.
  • Mexico went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) who ordered the US to "take all measures necessary" to prevent the execution.
  • The ICJ found that the US was in breech of their treaty obligations.
    • The ICJ found that in order to 'make it good', the US would have to review the sentences of the Mexican nationals.
      • Mexico had pushed to have the sentences annulled, but the ICJ didn't feel that was required.