The United Nations human rights office today voiced deep regret at the execution of Mexican national Ramiro Hernandez Llanas in Texas on Wednesday, noting that the United States is in breach of international law since Mr. Llanas was not allowed access to consular services.
Hernandez Llanas was reportedly executed for the 1997 killing of a former US university professor. He is the 16th person to have been executed in the US this year and the 6th in Texas.
“The UN opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of policy and principle; but, in addition, this case once again places the US in breach of international law, as Mr. Hernandez was not granted consular access pursuant to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Mr. Colville recalled that in 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a ruling stating that the US must review and reconsider the cases of 51 Mexican nationals sentenced to death, including Mr. Hernandez, as they had not received consular services.
He said that under international law, the violation of the right to consular notification affects the due process, and the execution of a foreign national deprived of his rights to consular services constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, in contravention of articles 6 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the US ratified in 1992.
“It is important to recall that the execution by the state of Texas of Mr. Hernandez Llanas engages the United States’ international responsibility,” said Mr. Colville.
“We are once again disappointed that neither the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles nor the Governor took steps open to them to prevent this breach of US obligations under international law from occurring.”