A United Nations court has found that the United States violated an international treaty and the court's own order when a Mexican national was executed last year in a Texas prison.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a ruling Monday in an unusual case that pitted President Bush against his home state in a dispute over federal authority, local sovereignty and foreign treaties. Mexico had filed a formal complaint against U.S. state and federal officials
"The United States of America has breached the obligation incumbent upon it" to stop the execution, the ICJ announced in a unanimous opinion.
The Medellin story was the most popular one over at the old Wordpress Blog. Unfortunately, my opinion of opposition to the death penalty was in the minority. With the International Court of Justice's decision, we're once again faced with big questions. Is the United States somehow above the law? Can we do what we want with respect to terrorists and murderers? Can we torture them, violating international treaties? Can we execute them in violation of other treaties?
The Latin Americanist posted a very thorough résumé of the Medellin case, but as usual the comments were predominantly pro-capital punishment, spearheaded by Dudley Sharp.
Mr. Sharp, who has written extensively in favor of capital punishment and claims to formerly have opposed the death penalty, as if that gives his present position more credibility, is a refreshing change from many of the furious ranting commenters who cry out for vengeance. I frankly have a hard time understanding both. Dudley has all the legal and historical information at his fingertips, but doesn't seem to understand my idea that if killing is wrong, then it's wrong. We can't tell the regular folks not to kill and then, as the State, do it ourselves. The ranting people are another story. They often remind me of the very ones they say should be put to death.
What's your opinion? Is capital punishment good for a society? Does it deter crime? Does it serve justice?
Please leave a comment.