Ruben Ramirez Cardenas

14 November 2017 :

Ruben Ramirez Cardenas, 47, a Mexican citizen, was executed, despite an adjudication by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that he was entitled to a new trial because of Texas's violation of U.S. treaty obligations under the Vienna Convention for Consular Notification.
Cardenas was convicted and sentenced to death in Hidalgo County in 1998 for the February 1997 rape and killing of his 16-year-old cousin Mayra Laguna. In a news conference in Mexico City on November 6, Carlos Sada, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, said “From the start, there has been a failure, and from our perspective, this is an illegal act.” He was referring to the fact that Texas violated U.S. international treaty obligations by denying him access to legal assistance from his government. Senior Mexican diplomats called the death sentence imposed on Ruben Ramírez Cárdenas "illegal" and a violation of due process. Shortly after the execution, Mexican President Enrique Nieto tweeted, "I express my firm condemnation of the execution of the Mexican Ruben Cardenas Ramirez in Texas, which violates the decision of the International Court of Justice. My deepest condolences to the mourners."
Being born in Mexico, which does not have capital punishment, made Cardenas eligible for legal help from the Mexican consulate when he was arrested, according to provisions of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, which is a 1963 international agreement. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention rights of 51 Mexican nationals sentenced to death in the United States, including Cárdenas, and ordered that foreign nationals whose consular rights are violated must be provided judicial review to determine whether that violation influenced the outcome of their cases. Cárdenas has sought review of his case in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which has granted "precautionary measures"—a form of injunction—against his execution until the treaty violation is adjudicated. However, in 2008, in a case in which Texas failed to provide such a hearing to Jose Ernesto Medellin, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that although the world court decision “constitutes an international law obligation” on the United States, it is nevertheless unenforceable against the states unless and until Congress passes legislation, which Congress has yet to do. Since then, a number of foreign nationals have been executed in the U.S. in violation of international treaty obligations without judicial review of their treaty claims.
On March 31, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court, turned down the appeals of 7 death row prisoners of Mexican nationality. One of them was Cardenas. Gregory Kuykendall, a lawyer who represents Mexico, said "It's a significant treaty violation. ... What separates us from anarchy is our commitment to due process and that's the processes of the laws that are in effect in both the United States as well as internationally." Cárdenas has never been granted review of his treaty claim in the U.S. courts.
Cardenas is the 7th prisoner put to death this year in Texas, the 545th since the state resumed executions in 1982, the 23rd prisoner put to death this year in the U.S., and the 1,465th in the United States since USA resumed executions in 1977.


other news