UPDATE: Guide to Research on Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Notification Requirements
By Barbara H. Bean
Barbara H. Bean is a Reference and Public Services Librarian at Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing Michigan. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Master's of Science in Information Science from the University at Albany, New York. Portions of this guide were presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries.
Published June/July 2007
Table of Contents
II. Treaty Sources
XII. Selected Cases
a. ICJ cases
XIII. Non U.S. Jurisdictions
Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which 170 nations are party, requires a nation arresting or detaining a foreign national to afford the detainee access to his or her consulate and to notify the foreign national of the right of consular access. In the number of U.S. cases involving foreign nationals, defendants have raised the issue of failure by the detaining authorities to make the necessary notifications. Many of these cases have involved death penalty and a number of cases have been heard by the Supreme Court. A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions have underscored the difficulty of this issue: treaties are negotiated on behalf of the United States, while arrests and prosecutions are made on the local level. Although the principle of U.S. compliance with the treaty obligations is accepted, enforcement has been spotty, and there has been no meaningful penalty for non-compliance at the local level. Foreign governments have brought challenges to the United States in the International Court of Justice, which has ruled against the United States on three occasions during the period from 1998 through 2004. Following the latest ICJ ruling, the Bush Administration withdrew from the Optional Protocol to the Consular Convention submitting to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. This guide describes sources required to research the issue of compliance with the Vienna Convention notification obligations; whether the need is of a practical or scholarly nature.
Update: March 25, 2008. The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Medellin v. Texas that neither the President not the ICJ has the authority to order a Texas court to reopen a death penalty case in which the consular notification required by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations was not made.
596 UNTS 261, TIAS 6820, 21 UST 77
596 UNTS 487, TIAS 6820, 21 UST 325
ˇ International Law Commission - Summaries of the Work of the International Law Commission - Law of International Relations - Consular Intercourse and Immunities
ˇ United Nations Conference on Consular Relations, Official Records (UN doc number: A/Conf.25/16-A/Conf.25/16/Add.1)
Volume I: Summary records of plenary meetings and of the meetings of the First and Second Committees
Volume II: Annexes; Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; Final Act; Optional Protocols; Resolutions
ˇ White House memorandum directing compliance with Avena decision
ˇ The memorandum is mentioned in government brief in Medellin v. Dretke
ˇ United Nations Treaty Collection: Status of multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary General
ˇ U.S. Supreme Court - opinions, oral arguments, briefs
ˇ Federal Courts - Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts - Pacer - electronic access to U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Appellate court records. (subscription database)
ˇ State court website - online resources vary by state, e.g. Texas
ˇ Also on subscription databases such as Westlaw and Lexis
ˇ International Court of Justice (decisions and documents)
Some states have by statute made Vienna Convention notification mandatory when a foreign national is arrested, e.g., Cal. Penal Code § 834c; or FLA. STAT. ANN. § 288.816(2)(f).
Many state codes may be found online: e.g., California.
Search for relevant state laws on subscription databases such as Westlaw and Lexis, e.g: "vienna convention on consular relations" OR (notif! w/s consul consular w/s arrest! OR detention OR detain!)
ˇ 28 C.F.R.§ 50.5
ˇ 8 C.F.R. § 236.1(e).
ˇ United Nations Treaty Collection: Treaty Reference Guide
ˇ United Nations Glossary of Treaty Terms
ˇ Treaty research guides may also be located on law school library websites
ˇ Ann K. Wooster, Annotation, Construction and Application of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), Requiring that Foreign Consulate be Notified when one of its Nationals is Arrested, 175 A.L.R. Fed. 243 (2002)
ˇ President Bush's Determination Regarding Mexican Nationals and Consular Convention Rights - by Frederic L. Kirgis
ˇ The Supreme Court Decides a Consular Convention Case - by Frederic L. Kirgis
ˇ The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Decides Medellin's Consular Convention Case -by Frederic L. Kirgis
ˇ Michael John Garcia, Congressional Information Service, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: Overview of U.S. Implementation and International Court of Justice (ICJ) Interpretation of Consular Notification Requirements (2004).
ˇ Luke T. Lee, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, with Texts and Commentaries on Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, United States-Soviet Consular Convention, 1964 [and] Draft European Convention on Consular Functions (1966).
ˇ Mark Warren, Human Rights Research, Consular Notification: Statutory and Regulatory Provisions (Nov. 2005), [see also http://www3.sympatico.ca/aiwarren]
ˇ Equal Protection: Consular Assistance and Criminal Justice Procedures in the USA: An Introductory Guide for Consulates (Anne James & Joanne Cecil comps., 2d ed. 2005)
ˇ William J. Aceves, International Decisions: Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States) Provisional Measures Order, 97 Am. J. Int'l L. 923 (2003).
ˇ William J. Aceves, International Decisions: LaGrand (Germany v. United States), 96 Am. J. Int'l L. 210 (2002).
ˇ William J. Aceves, International Decisions: Case Concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Federal Republic of Germany v. United States), 93 Am. J. Int'l L. 924 (1999).
ˇ William J. Aceves, International Decisions: Application of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States), 92 Am. J. Int'l L. 517 (1998).
ˇ William J. Aceves, The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: A Study of Rights, Wrongs, and Remedies, 31 Vand. J. Transnat'l L. 257 (1998).
ˇ Agora: Breard, 92 Am. J. Int'l L. 675 (1998).
ˇ Roger P. Alford, Federal Courts, International Tribunals, and the Continuum of Deference, 43 Va. J. Int'l L. 675 (2003).
ˇ Andrea Bianchi, International Law and U.S. Courts: The Myth of Lohengrin Revisited, 15 Eur. J. Int'l L. 751 (2004).
ˇ Anthony N. Bishop, The Unenforceable Rights to Consular Notification and Access in the United States: What's Changed Since the LaGrand Case?, 25 Hous. J. Int'l L. 1 (2002).
ˇ Curtis A. Bradley, Breard, Our Dualist Constitution, and the Internationalist Conception, 51 Stan. L. Rev. 529 (1999).
ˇ Joshua A. Brook, Federalism and Foreign Affairs: How to Remedy Violations of the Vienna Convention and Obey the U.S. Constitution, Too, 37 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 573 (2004).
ˇ Linda E. Carter, Lessons from Avena: The Inadequacy of Clemency and Judicial Proceedings for Violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 15 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 259 (2005).
ˇ Linda E. Carter, Compliance with ICJ Provisional Measures and the Meaning of Review and Reconsideration Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mex v. U.S.), 25 Mich. J. Int'l L. 117 (2003).
ˇ Linda E. Carter and John Cary Sims, The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the Rights of Non-Citizen Criminal Defendants: The Lessons of Breard, 9 California Defender 47 (1999).
ˇ Sanja Djajic, The Effect of International Court of Justice Decisions on Municipal Courts in the United States: Breard v. Greene, 23 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 27 (1999).
ˇ Valerie Epps, Violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: Time for Remedies, 11 Willamette J. Int'l L. & Disp. Resol. 1 (2004).
ˇ Joan Fitzpatrick, The Unreality of International Law in the United States and the LaGrand Case, 27 Yale J. Int'l L. 427 (2002).
ˇ Sandy Ghandhi, Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), Judgment of 31 March 2004, 54 ICLQ 779 (2005).
ˇ Alex Glashausser, Difference and Deference in Treaty Interpretation, 50 Vill. L. Rev. 25 (2005).
ˇ Malvina Halberstam, Lagrand and Avena Establish a Right, but Is There a Remedy? Brief Comments on the Legal Effect of Lagrand and Avena in the U.S., 11 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 415 (2005).
ˇ Malvina Halberstam, The Constitutional Authority of the Federal Government in State Criminal Proceedings That involve U.S. Treaty Obligations or Affect U.S. Foreign Relations, 10 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (1999).
ˇ Roberto Iraola, Federal Criminal Prosecutions and the Right to Consular Notification Under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, 105 W. Va. L. Rev. 179, 184 (2002).
ˇ Mark J. Kadish, Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: The International Court of Justice in Mexico v. United States (Avena), 36 Geo. J. Int'l L. 1 (2004).
ˇ Mark J. Kadish, Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: A Search for the Right to Consul, 18 Mich. J. Int'l L. 565 (1997).
ˇ Julian G. Ku, Structural Conflicts in the Interpretation of Customary International Law, 45 Santa Clara L. Rev. 857 (2005).
ˇ Julian G. Ku, The State of New York Does Exist: How the States Control Compliance with International Law, 82 N.C. L. Rev. 457 (2004).
ˇ Thomas H. Lee, Making Sense of the Eleventh Amendment: International Law and State Sovereignty, 96 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1027 (2002).
ˇ Janet Koven Levit, A Tale of International Law in the Heartland: Torres and the Role of State Courts in Transnational Legal Conversation, 12 Tul. J. Comp. & Int'l L. 163 (2004-2005).
ˇ Erik J. Luna & Douglas J. Sylvester, Beyond Breard, 17 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 147, (1999).
ˇ Linda A. Malone, From Breard to Atkins to Malvo: Legal Incompetency and Human Rights Norms on the Fringes of the Death Penalty, 13 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 363 (2004).
ˇ Jenny S. Martinez, Enforcing the Decisions of International Tribunals in the U.S. Legal System, 45 Santa Clara L. Rev. 877 (2005).
ˇ Martin Mennecke & Christian J. Tams, LaGrand Case (Germany v. United States of America), 51 ICLQ 449 (2002).
ˇ Sean D. Murphy, Implementation of Avena Decision by Oklahoma Court, 98 Am. J. Int'l L. 581 (2004).
ˇ Sean D. Murphy, U.S. Position before International Court of Justice in Mexican Death Penalty Case, 97 Am. J. Int'l L. 434 (2003).
ˇ Jordan J. Paust, Breard and Treaty-Based Rights under the Consular Convention, 92 Am. J. Int'l L. 691 (1998).
ˇ John Quigley, Application of Consular Rights to Foreign Nationals: Standard for Reversal of a Criminal Conviction, 11 ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L. 403 (2005).
ˇ John Quigley, Suppressing the Incriminating Statements of Foreigners, 13 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 339 (2004).
ˇ John Quigley, The Law of State Responsibility and the Right to Consular Access, 11 Willamette J. Int'l L. & Disp. Resol. 39 (2004).
ˇ John Quigley, International Attention to the Death Penalty: Texas as a Lightning Rod, 8 Tex. J. on C.L. & C.R. 175 (2003).
ˇ John Quigley, LaGrand: A Challenge to the U.S. Judiciary, 27 Yale J. Int'l L. 435 (2002).
ˇ Henry J. Richardson III, The Execution of Angel Breard by the United States: Violating an Order of the International Court of Justice, 12 Temp. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 121 (1998).
ˇ Laurence E. Rothenberg, International Law, U.S. Sovereignty, and the Death Penalty, 35 Geo. J. Int'l L. 547 (2004).
ˇ William A. Schabas, The ICJ Ruling against the United States: Is It Really about the Death Penalty? 27 Yale J. Int'l L. 445 (2002).
ˇ Howard S. Schiffman, The LaGrand Decision: The Evolving Legal Landscape of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the U.S. Death Penalty Cases, 42 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1099 (2002).
ˇ Howard S. Schiffman, Breard and Beyond: The Status of Consular Notification and Access Under the Vienna Convention, 8 Cardozo J. Int'l & Comp. L. 27 (2000).
ˇ S. Adele Shank & John Quigley, Foreigners on Texas's Death Row and the Right of Access to a Consul, 26 St. Mary's L.J. 719 (1995).
ˇ Dinah Shelton, Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mex v. U.S.), 98 Am. J. Int'l L. 559 (2004).
ˇ Peter Shepherd, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations: An Oregon Law Enforcement Perspective, 11 Willamette J. Int'l L. & Disp. Res. 53 (2004).
ˇ Bruno Simma and Carsten Hoppe, From LaGrand and Avena to Medellin - A Rocky Road Toward Implementation, 14 Tul. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 7 (2005).
ˇ John Cary Sims & Linda E. Carter, Emerging Importance of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as a Defense Tool, 22-Sept/Oct Champion 28 (Sept/Oct 1998).
ˇ Christian J. Tams, Recognizing Guarantees and Assurances of Non-repetition: LaGrand and the Law of State Responsibility, 27 Yale J. Int'l L. 441 (2002).
ˇ Victor M. Uribe, Consuls at Work: Universal Instruments of Human Rights and Consular Protection in the Context of Criminal Justice, 19 Hous. J. Int'l L. 375 (1997).
ˇ Reynaldo Anaya Valencia, Craig L. Jackson, Leticia Van de Putte & Rodney Ellis, Avena and the World Court's Death Penalty Jurisdiction in Texas: Addressing the Odd Notion of Texas's Independence from the World, 23 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 455 (2005).
ˇ Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Breard, Printz, and the Treaty Power, 70 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1317 (1999).
ˇ Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Night and Day: Coeur d'Alene, Breard, and the Unraveling of the Prospective-Retrospective Distinction in Eleventh Amendment Doctrine, 87 Geo. L.J. 1 (1998).
ˇ Carlos Manuel Vázquez, Breard and the Federal Power to Require Compliance with ICJ Orders of Provisional Measures, 92 Am. J. Int'l L. 683 (1998).
ˇ Carlos Manuel Vazquez, Treaty-Based Rights and Remedies of Individuals, 92 Colum. L. Rev. 1082 (1992).
ˇ Mark Weisburd, International Courts and American Courts, 21 Mich. J. Int'l L. 877 (2000).
ˇ Mark Weisburd, International Judicial Decisions, Domestic Courts, and the Foreign Affairs Power, 2005 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 287 (2004-2005).
ˇ Richard J. Wilson, International Law Issues in Death Penalty Defense, 31 Hofstra L. Rev. 1195 (2003).
ˇ Rebecca E. Woodman, International Miranda? Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 70 J. Kan. B. Ass'n 41 (2001).
ˇ Avena and 51 other Mexican Nationals (cases arising in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon) (1979 and forward) (ICJ: Mexico v. United States)
ˇ Breard v. Greene, 523 U.S. 371 (1998) (Virginia) (ICJ: Paraguay v. United States)
ˇ LaGrand v. Stewart, 133 F. 3d 1253 (9th Cir. 1998) (Arizona) (ICJ: Germany v. United States)
ˇ Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon & Bustillo v. Johnson (Virginia and Oregon) 126 S.Ct. 2669, 165 L.Ed.2d 557 (2006)
ˇ Medellín v. Dretke, 371 F. 3d 270 (5th Cir. 2004) (Texas) (accepted by Supreme Court and subsequently dismissed)
November 2006 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Opinion, Ex Parte Medellín
April 30, 2007: U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari, case #06-984, Medellín v. Texas; oral arguments scheduled for fall of 2007
ˇ Torres v. State of Oklahoma, 1998 OK CR 40, 962 P. 2d 3 (Okla. Crim. App. 1998) (Oklahoma)
To locate cases, laws and secondary sources involving the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in non-U.S. jurisdictions, use databases of foreign cases and legislation, using the title of the treaty in the language of the country searched, e.g. Convention de Vienne sur les Relations Consulaires, Convencion de Viena sobre Relaciones Consulares. (Foreign titles can be found by looking in the United Nations Treaty Series).