US breached international law in Mexican execution: UN
The United States violated international law by executing a Mexican national who was denied his consular rights, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said Friday.
"The execution of Mr Leal Garcia places the US in breach of international law," said Pillay.
"What the state of Texas has done in this case is imputable in law to the US and engages the United States' international responsibility," she added.
Humberto Leal Garcia, 38, is one of at least 51 Mexicans on US death rows who were not informed after their arrests that they could get legal help from the Mexican consulate, a violation of the Vienna Convention.
He was executed at 6:21 pm (2321 GMT) Thursday in a Huntsville, Texas prison for the 1994 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, state officials said.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that the United States had broken its treaty obligations, but the US has failed to pass a law requiring local officials to inform foreign nationals of their consular rights.
Pillay also noted that the ICJ had called on the United States to reexamine the cases of the 51 Mexicans on death row but, she added: "this never took place."
The latest execution would "undermine the role of the International Court of Justice, and its ramifications are likely to spread far beyond Texas.
"The federal Congress must also assume its responsibilities and act to remedy the gap in US law that this case has again sadly revealed in order to prevent its recurrence in the future," added Pillay.
After all, she noted, it is "the responsibility of all federal countries to ensure that all individual states respect the international obligations assumed by the country as a whole."
In a rare intervention, the US government's top lawyer had urged the Supreme Court to spare Leal's life, saying his execution would cause "irreparable harm" to US interests.
But the Supreme Court denied the request for a stay of execution in a 5-4 decision just over an hour before Leal was set to be put to death.
© 2011 AFP