Friday, March 11, 2005

Vamoose from Vienna

Over the past several years, appellate courts have remanded a growing number of U.S. death penalty cases involving foreign nationals because law enforcement had neglected to meet a tenet of the Vienna Convention. At issue has been an international agreement that guarantees a foreign national accused of a crime can meet with diplomats from his or her native country.

Death penalty opponents have rallied behind the provision and its potential impact on capital punishment, while death penalty supporters have regarded the Vienna Convention as a nuisance.

Well, chalk up a win for the pro-death penalty camp and the Bush Administration's ever-amazing go-it-alone policy. As Charles Lane reports in The Washington Post, the White House is withdrawing its agreement to the Vienna Convention protocol dealing with consular relations.

"The United States initially backed the measure as a means to protect its citizens abroad. It was also the first country to invoke the protocol before the ICJ, also known as the World Court, successfully suing Iran for the taking of 52 U.S. hostages in Tehran in 1979.

"But in recent years, other countries, with the support of U.S. opponents of capital punishment, successfully complained before the World Court that their citizens were sentenced to death by U.S. states without receiving access to diplomats from their home countries."

Regardless of where you stand on the death penalty (I'm agin it as a rule, but concede that maybe it should be reserved for truly heinous crimes), the White House's decision to bow out of the Vienna Convention protocol seems remarkably short-sighted (I know, I know, it shocks me, too).

In an effort to keep the nation's death chambers cranking out the corpses, Dubya is willing to lethally inject the baby and the bathwater. After all, our rejection of the consular-relations provision can certainly have some treacherous implications for Americans who find themselves in trouble abroad. Midnight Express, anyone?


At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They knew the responsibility they took when they bought the tickets. I say let them crash


Post a Comment

<< Home