Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ICJ: Request for Interpretation of the Avena Judgment (Provisional Measures - Order)

Today, the International Court of Justice gave its decision on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Mexico in the case concerning Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America). In its order (press release here; order not yet available online), the Court, by a vote of 7 votes to 5, indicated the following provisional measures:

The United States of America shall take all measures necessary to ensure that Messrs. José Ernesto Medellín Rojas, César Roberto Fierro Reyna, Rubén Ramírez Cárdenas, Humberto Leal García, and Roberto Moreno Ramos are not executed pending judgment on the Request for interpretation submitted by the United Mexican States, unless and until these five Mexican nationals receive review and reconsideration consistent with paragraphs 138 to 141 of the Court’s Judgment delivered on 31 March 2004 in the case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America).

The Court also stated that "The Government of the United States of America shall inform the Court of the measures taken in implementation of this Order."

To indicate provisional measures, the Court had to find, pursuant to Article 60 of the Court's Statute, that there was a "dispute" between the parties regarding the "meaning or scope" of the Avena judgment. The Court stated that there "appears to be a difference of opinion" between the parties concerning the meaning of paragraph 153(9) of the judgment; particularly, the Court noted, the parties "apparently hold different views as to the meaning and scope of that obligation of result, namely, whether that understanding is shared by all United States federal and state authorities and whether that obligation falls upon all those authorities."

Judge Buergenthal appended a dissenting opinion to the Order; Judges Owada, Tomka and Keith appended a joint dissenting opinion; and Judge Skotnikov appended a dissenting opinion.

UPDATE: The order and the dissenting opinions are now available here. The Court has also posted a summary of the order here.