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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, April 5, 2006

SCOTUS: Examines Criminally-Accused Foreign Nationals' Rights under the Vienna Convention

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court delved into rights and remedies under international law in two different contexts: the war on crime and the war on terror. The day after the justices heard arguments over whether Salim Hamdan is entitled to protections under the Geneva Convention, they took up the cases of two foreign nationals claiming violation of their rights under the Vienna Convention. In both arenas, the Bush administration argued there were no judicially enforceable rights created.

Moises Sanchez-Llamas, a Mexican national convicted of attempted murder, and Mario Bustillo, a Honduran citizen convicted of first-degree murder, contend that Article 36 of the Vienna Convention requires signing nations to notify "without delay" a detained foreign national of his right to request help from his country's consul and, if the foreign national asks, to inform the consul of the arrest or detention. The Court will decide if Article 36 of the Vienna Convention creates individual rights of consular notice and access, and whether suppression of evidence sought by Sanchez-Llamas, or the habeas relief sought by Bustillo, would be appropriate remedies for violations of Article 36. The cases are Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, No. 04-10566 and Bustillo v. Johnson, No. 05-51.  More. . . [Mark Godsey]

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