ICJ Finds Against U.S. in Consular Convention Case

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Wednesday, August 1, 2001
Bruce Zagaris
On June 27, 2001, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an opinion that the United States violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963 by failing to notify the two German nationals promptly after their arrest that they had a right to communicate with officials at a German consulate. On March 2, 1999, the Federal Republic of Germany instituted the case against the U.S. for violations of the Vienna Convention. Germany based the jurisdiction of the ICJ on Article 26, paragraph 1, of the Statute of the Court and on Article I of the Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, which accompanies the Vienna Convention. On March 2, the German Government also requested that the ICJ indicate provisional measures based on Article 41 of the Statute and Articles 73, 74 and 75 of the Rules of the Court. On March 2, 1999, the ICJ’s Vice-President, acting President in the case, sent a letter to the U.S., asking the U.S. Government to act so as to enable any Order the Court will make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects. By order of March 3, 1999, the Court indicated certain provisional measures…[more]